As much as I love desserts, a healthy diet cannot be full of sweet treats all the time (bummer!). Healthy desserts are good sometimes, but the bulk of our “daily bread” so to speak should be whole foods, fruits and veggies, lean proteins, and healthy fats. My commitment is to start posting more main dishes and side dishes that reflect this nutrition philosophy. The healthy desserts/baked goodies won’t stop, but I will be adding in more non-dessert recipes that can fit anyone’s healthy diet choices. Besides, I love salads! I haven’t eaten much salad since winter started, but making up this hearty salad reminded me of how much I miss the tastes of summer.
Fresh Mexican Quinoa Salad
Makes 4 cups
1 cup quinoa, cooked
1 cup diced jicama
1/2 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 small tomato, seeded and diced *
1/2 medium cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and diced (save seeds for dressing)
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, unpacked (about 1-2 Tablespoons minced)
1 stem green onions, sliced (optional)
Zest of 1 lime
- Mix together the quinoa, jicama, bell pepper, tomato, cucumber, cilantro, green onions, and lime zest until well blended. Add in 1/2 of the dressing recipe below (about 3 Tablespoons) and mix again until blended. Enjoy immediately or chill to set flavors.
* Scraping out the seeds/liquid from tomatoes and cucumbers is optional, but it keeps your salads from getting soggy, especially if you will not be eating the entire salad at one time.
Makes @ 7 Tablespoons dressing
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons seeds from cucumber
Zest from 1 lime
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground chia seed*
1/4 teaspoon Cajun spice
1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder
- Place all ingredients in a small food processor, blender, or magic bullet and process until mixed well. Use half for the Quinoa salad, and save the rest for another salad.
* The ground chia seed helps to thicken and emulsify the dressing. You can add more if you want it to be thicker
You can easily make this side dish/salad into a main course by adding some protein (like chopped chicken or shrimp) and sprinkling some pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) on top. If you are vegetarian or vegan, you can add some beans!