Salad with Quinoa and Roasted Vegetables

Ingredients: – 1 cup quinoa – 2 cups mixed vegetables (e.g., bell peppers, zucchini, cherry tomatoes) – 2 tablespoons olive oil – 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar – 2 cloves garlic, minced – Salt and pepper, to taste

Prepare the Quinoa: Rinse the quinoa under cold water using a fine mesh sieve to remove any bitter outer coating. In a medium saucepan, combine the rinsed quinoa with 2 cups of water or vegetable broth.

Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until the quinoa is tender and all the liquid is absorbed. Once cooked, fluff the quinoa with a fork and transfer it to a large mixing bowl to cool.

Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease it with olive oil to prevent the vegetables from sticking. 2. 

Prepare the Vegetables: Wash and chop your chosen vegetables into bite-sized pieces. For this recipe, you can use a combination of bell peppers, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes, but feel free to customize based on your preferences or what's in season. Spread the chopped vegetables out on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer.

Make the Marinade: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, salt, and pepper to create a flavorful marinade for the vegetables. The balsamic vinegar adds a tangy sweetness to the dish, while the garlic infuses it with aromatic flavor.

Roast the Vegetables: Drizzle the prepared marinade over the chopped vegetables on the baking sheet, tossing them gently to ensure they're evenly coated. Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and roast the vegetables for about 20-25 minutes, or until they are tender and slightly caramelized around the edges. Stir the vegetables halfway through the cooking time to promote even browning.

Assemble the Salad: Once the roasted vegetables are done, let them cool slightly before adding them to the cooked quinoa in the mixing bowl. Gently fold the vegetables into the quinoa until they are evenly distributed.

Season to Taste: Taste the quinoa salad and adjust the seasoning as needed, adding more salt, pepper, or balsamic vinegar to suit your preferences. You can also incorporate additional herbs or spices for extra flavor, such as fresh basil or dried oregano.

Serve and Enjoy: Transfer the Quinoa Salad with Roasted Vegetables to a serving platter or individual bowls. This salad can be enjoyed warm or chilled, making it perfect for meal prep or picnics. Garnish with fresh herbs, such as chopped parsley or basil, before serving for a vibrant finishing touch.

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