Picnic Quinoa Salad Recipe

Picnic Quinoa Salad Recipe Recipe


My husband Lulu, baby Aria and I had a delightful time at San Gregorio beach this weekend. He took care of most of the food; I only prepared a salad. For easy transportation, I cooked quinoa and pre-seasoned it with a salad vinaigrette. I also added carrot, corn, broccolizucchini, sun-dried tomatoes and sweet cheese.

Lulu was so thoughtful and took care of the rest. He woke up early, took care of our new puppy Ernest, went groceries shopping, bought a baguette and a wonderful array of cheeses (manchego, out-of-this world truffle cheese, goat cheese, etc.) and packed the trunk of the car with our picnic bag with plates and cutlery. But I think the most beautiful surprise was when we reached the beach. He gave Aria a gift of a lovely beach sand toy set and bubble kit. You should have seen the excitement in her eyes; it almost made me teary.
It was such an incredible day: the weather was gorgeous; it was slightly overcast and the sounds of the waves were very pleasant. The view was spectacular with a beautiful soft sand beach and dunes to the right and a bridge to the left, complete with a creek underneath and a tunnel worn into the rocks nearby. We also enjoyed good food and stayed there for a few hours. My favorite part was watching Lulu and Aria building sand castles. Loved it!




Yields: 6 servings

3 cups quinoa
6 cups vegetable stock
3 zucchini, quartered lengthwise, then chopped
8 ounces sweet cheese, diced
8 ounces baby carrots, boiled, drained, then chopped
6 ounces frozen corn, boiled and drained
2 pieces broccoli
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons Dijon
1 lime , freshly squeezed
½ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
½ cup sweet basil, coarsely torn
1 tablespoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper


Making quinoa: 

Fill a saucepan with the vegetable broth. Add the quinoa and bring to a boil. Cover and lower the heat to medium-low and cook for about 20 minutes until the liquid evaporates. Fluff the quinoa with a fork. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well. Cover and let cool to room temperature. 

Boiling broccoli:

Fill a pot with cold salted water and bring to a boil. Add the whole broccoli pieces, bring back to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for  5-6 minutes. Drain the water. Cover with ice-cold water ((this keeps the green color bright). Allow to cool a little, then drain the water.

Cut into small wedges from the bottom. Pull and separate the small florets.

For the dressing:

In a blender, combine the mustard, honey, lime juice, vinegar and olive oil. Whisk well, season with salt and cracked pepper.


Season the slightly warm quinoa with the dressing.

In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, sun-dried tomatoes, carrot, corn, broccoli, zucchini, sweet cheese and sweet basil. Toss well.

Serve at room temperature.

Bon appétit!


If you don't have quinoa (coarsely-ground durum wheat), you could use semolina , bulgur (wheat grains that are partly cooked), regular couscous (tiny pasta made from semolina), Israeli couscous or even cooked pasta such as orzo.

For a vegan version, simply omit the sweet cheese.

You can find sweet cheese in most Middle Eastern market. It's ideal to transport for a picnic. It's a low-salt, mild tasting soft cheese.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on April 14, 2014.


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