summer quinoa salad

summer quinoa salad

So apparently I can go for 6 months without making an appearance here and the world will not end. And to those of you that have been secretly crying yourself to sleep each night in the absence of my complaining and constant nagging, what can I say, you are in luck today.

The last few months have been a string of days that although almost identical have all been extremely tiring. I am overworked, permanently grumpy and as is the case every summer – just smothered by the heat and hating it. My respite nowadays is the 15 or so minutes each day I spend looking at lovely photos of food made by people who have had time to buy ingredients for it, cook it, take perfectly arranged photos of it, eat it sitting down with a fork and a knife and then clean up their gorgeous kitchens. Who are you, people?

It’s obviously all my fault. I am either becoming more and more disorganized as I age or I simply think I can do superhuman things and manage a full time job where I basically do magic on a daily basis, juggle ad-hoc freelance acts that sometimes have me work until dawn (literally), run after a toddler that just can’t sit down and is permanently plugged into some sort of secret power source….and of course, my latest addiction to dark and mysterious European TV shows which monopolize whatever shreds of energy and attention I have left at the end of the day.  Well, granted, there was a week spent at the beach some time in June during which we attempted to unwind and relax but it just seems so far away and so…short.

at the beach

The slightly better news is that after months of eating crap (and this is a euphemism, believe me) and piling on weight, I think I have managed to instill some structure into our eating patterns. (I just read that out loud and nearly fell off my chair). No, seriously, I now have a printed 6 week menu that adorns our fridge. It’s what grownups would call a family meal plan, I guess, but in fear of you laughing out loud as hard as I just did, I will spare you a photo of it.

summer in the city

Meanwhile, I’ve grown my cookbook collection by 3 great books. I am yet to cook any of the recipes from any of them (well, save for one hurried pathetic attempt at the peach pancakes from The Smitten Kitchen cookbook which Ognen was quite underwhelmed with).  I’ve battled with making the Imam Bayildi I dream of but am still struggling with taming the eggplants. I’ve made Gazpacho no less than 3 times in the last 2 weeks. I’ve baked these scones for the first time just few weeks ago and fell in love with them and am sensing the undercover development of a major scones-obsession.  We’ve eaten strawberries, cherries, sour cherries, raspberries and loads of other berries and Ognen has deduced that raspberries are his favorite berry ever. The kid has now definitely entered some peculiar preschooler-fantasy-land where he regularly amuses us with both realistic observations and also statements that make no sense whatsoever and border the bizarre. Such as “Mommy, you will save money in the piggy bank, close the door, go out to the store, and buy me a wife and a kid…and a car“.  See what I mean? Which door, young man??!

summer quinoa salad

recipe (adapted mostly by eliminating a few ingredients I had a hard time understanding how they work in the salad – i.e. the Stevia) from Eat Yourself Skinny (gasp! I know!!)
serves about 4


  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, cooked according to package directions (I usually rinse in warm water, then cook in 1.5-2 cups boiling water – for 1 cup of uncooked quinoa-  for about 15-20min until all water is absorbed. It should be fluffy. ).
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 6 sweet red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 cup broccoli (original recipe uses raw, I steamed ours for a few minutes)
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed well until all foam is gone
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • equal amount of olive oil (as lemon juice)
  • salt and black pepper
  • some fresh basil


  1. Cook quinoa, fluff and let cool.
  2. Saute the onion and peppers in a little bit of olive oil for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add to the cooled quinoa. To this, add the broccoli (raw or lightly steamed), corn and beans. Mix well.
  3. For the dressing, mix the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Add to the salad and toss well. Taste and adjust seasonings; you may want to add a bit more oil or lemon at this point, to taste. Let chill in the fridge for a few hours. Decorate with basil just before serving.
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