Summer Quinoa Salad with Jicama and Black Eyed Peas

Happy belated 4th of July! I had all intentions of posting this last night, however Mike and I decided to go see Ted instead. Oops! If it’s any consolation, the movie was hilarious. Anyway, I hope you stuffed yourself with borderline too much grilled cuisine, sported lots of red, white and blue and, of course, enjoyed some good fireworks to celebrate our great country’s birthday. I certainly did, with the exception that I wore pink instead of red (I can honestly day I do not own a single article of clothing that is red…not a fan) and my town firework show was nothing to write home about. Regardless, it was still a relaxing cheat day for me—the annual parade took priority over gym time—and I lent a hand with some of the tasty, healthy cuisine at my family party. Shrimp kabobs, guacamole and a summer quinoa salad to name a few. 

Ingredients
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 red bell pepper
1 large tomato
1/2 of a jicama
1 can of black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1/2 loosely packed cup of basil
Juice of one lemon
Drizzle of olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegarCayenne pepper, black pepper and sea salt to taste

I love making different renditions of a light, cold quinoa dish for summer parties (remember my grad party?). It’s a versatile side that pairs wonderfully with burgers, grilled veggies and the like, but also tastes great on top of a bed of greens as leftovers. After snagging a jicama the other day at Whole Foods, I wanted to let the sweet crispness shine and think this salad allowed just that. Start by cooking the quinoa, following the directions on the box. Typically you bring two cups of water to a boil, add in the cup of quinoa, reduce the heat and cover until the water is fully absorbed. While that is cooking, get started on chopping the tomato, bell pepper, jicama and basil. Combine in a large bowl. Open a can of black eyed peas, thoroughly rinse and drain before adding them to the veggies. Once the quinoa is done and cooled, add that to the mix.

Now for the dressing. Squeeze the juice from one lemon (add a little zest, too, while you’re at it), drizzle a little olive oil, alongside the red wine vinegar, over the salad. Mix thoroughly. Season with salt, cayenne and cracked black pepper. Cover and chill before serving. Clean, light and refreshing, yet filling. Perfect for a hot summer day! This may be my new go-to beach food.
What was your favorite 4th of July dish? 

Sprinkled with Love,
Lauren

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