herb-dressed quinoa vegetable salad

meatless monday
notes from maggie's farm

my little bowl of sunshine

Good morning, friends!

It was a rainy mess around here for two plus solid days, and though we are thrilled to receive this hefty dose of love from the skies for all of our vegetation, well, forgive us if we seem ungrateful, but it gets a little depressing, all those gloomy clouds.  Days like these call for emergency intervention.  Enter, my little bowl of sunshine! 

We all have these days when it seems we're just jumping, whether figuratively, or literally, from one messy puddle to the next.  It's at the end of those types of days that dinner, often, is simply an afterthought.  All of our best-laid plans have been set asunder, and we just need a quick, healthy, sure bet. 

Besides the muddy mess of a weekend just past, we've had our hands rather full around here.  The well-thought out veggie lasagna, tossed salad with vinaigrette, freshly baked baguette---well it all just sounded so fabulous, but that was before we spent a rainy late afternoon tending to goats and chickens and ducks and puppies-- don't get us wrong--we count it all joy, but, exhausting, and recently, muddy-from-head-to-toe joy.  By the time dinner came around, we were starving and frankly, this exhausted and grubby farmstress needed a little pampering. I wanted to be indulged. I wanted delicious. I wanted my freshest favorites. I wanted a big bowl of blessing. and that's just what we got.

First I took a warm bath. then I got down to business.

my little bowl of sunshine

herb-dressed quinoa vegetable salad

serves 4 as a side dish, and 2, if feeding a very hungry and a little bit grumpy farmstress, who wants a little leftover for tomorrow's lunch

■½ c plain quinoa
■½ c red quinoa
■2 cups water
■your favorite veggies, prepared (see below)
■2 cloves minced garlic
■zest and juice of one lemon
■½ c extra virgin olive oil
■1t dijon mustard
■1 healthy tablespoon each of chopped, fresh oregano and fresh mint
■salt, to taste

notes on ingredients:
■you may use both, or just one type of quinoa, i happened to have both and that pretty red in my salad was going to make me happy.
■ you may elect to substitute your favorite cooking liquid for the water, when cooking quinoa. I often use stock. this recipe, however, uses a vinaigrette to dress the salad, so the additional flavor won't be necessary.
■ feel free to use the vegetables and seasonings of your choice. As always, change it up. make it yours.
■ use any mustard of your choice, dijon is used traditionally,  prepared yellow mustard, however, won't yield the same results. It will be awful, in fact. so save it for hot dogs. I used from maggie's farm farmhouse mustard
■ fresh herbs make all the difference, especially in a salad such as this, but if you just don't have access to them, use ½ the amount in dried herb, and let soak in the vinaigrette for at least 30 minutes before dressing the dish. (but really, get fresh. grow an herb or two. just think about it, even.)

Prepare your favorite vegetables.

 Trim, chop, slice. I've steamed the carrots briefly (I confess, covered, in the microwave, for three minutes). The other goodies you see here are from top, clockwise, chopped celery hearts, fresh oregano, mushrooms, tomatoes, scallions, (carrots), and sliced cucumber on the edge way up there. Not shown were a handful of peas, and fresh mint. You might want to add some sweet red pepper, or hot chile pepper, or artichoke hearts, olives, chopped sweet onion, sugar snap peas, bean sprouts, chopped greens, .......endless possibilities. You might want to add some sweet red pepper, or hot chile pepper, or artichoke hearts, olives, chopped sweet onion, sugar snap peas, bean sprouts, chopped greens, arugula....endless possibilities.

Rinse, rinse, rinse your quinoa.

If you skip this very important step, your quinoa will be bitter. Inedible, even. Combine quinoa with water in a saucepan. Add any frozen veggies if you are using them. If you choose to cook other prepared veggies, toss them in at this stage. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer about 15 minutes, or until grains are transparent and moisture is absorbed. Add mushrooms and frozen peas, at this stage. bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, about 15 minutes, or until grains are transparent, and moisture has been absorbed.

In a medium salad bowl, prepare dressing.

Combine olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, mint, mustard, garlic, and salt.  Whisk thoroughly to combine.  (if you want to get fancy, you can combine all of your ingredients except the olive oil, then slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking all the time, and feeling very superior and french. I'm a farmstress. I'm in a hurry. I'm hungry. and while we're talking about me, what's that on my hand in that picture? Are those scales? I promise I'm not a fish.)

Now that your vinaigrette is ready, it'll be about time for the quinoa to be done, too. Add your remaining veggies and the quinoa with cooked vegetables to salad bowl, toss to coat with dressing.

Season to taste, and serve that perfect bowl of happy.

now, the skinny...

Superfoods we used


muscle enhancer
although technically a seed, this protein source contains a complete set of branch chain and essential amino acids, making it a tissue- and muscle-building powerhouse. its nutritional composition is better than most grains, so try to have one cup a week, alternating it with other healthy starches such as sweet potatoes and brown rice.

olive oil

inflammation fighter
the extra-virgin variety is rich in beneficial monounsaturated fats. its fatty acids and polyphenols reduce inflammation in cells and joints. have up to two tablespoons a day.


immunity booster
mushrooms are rich in the antioxidant ergothioneine, which protects cells from abnormal growth and replication, reducing the risk of cancer. consume half a cup once or twice a week. cooking them in red wine, which contains the antioxidant resveratrol, magnifies their immunity-boosting power.


immunity booster
the lycopene content in tomatoes help protect against degenerative diseases. Shoot for half a tomato, or 12-20 oz of tomato juice a day.

Be sure to join us tomorrow, on Tips for Tuesday, where we'll be getting ready for the upcoming St/ Patty's Day, and be talking about one of our favorite herbs:

sources: nutritiondata.com, nutrition.gov, usda national nutrient database


  1. Oooooo, this looks SO delicious! I can almost taste it. Love what you did with the cool background textures in your photo, too!

    1. Hey, thank you! And thanks for stopping by. This is one of those almost too simple to post recipes, but, for me anyway, sometimes I need a too simple to post nudge! lol
      Have a great week!

  2. Looks very colorful, and I bet it was delicious. A dish to brighten any day!!


    1. Hi Kathy! It's one of my favorite healthy meals. Thank you for your kind comment.
      Here's to a happy week--

  3. Wonderful looking salad. Love quinoa. I've never had the red variety.

    1. The red actually has a unique nutrition profile to the white, so I like to mix it up, but it tastes pretty close to the same. How are you this week, friend?

    2. Thank you for asking dear Maggie. I'm emailing you shortly.


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