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Farmer's Junk Drawer Quinoa Salad


I was in charge of dinner last night.

So mamma went with what she loves, and mixed it all up in a giant salad for a " summer garden in a bowl" party in your mouth.

My daughter was not impressed. Too many vegetables, evidently.
Hubby and I were in heaven.

For us, nothing is more fun than walking out into the yard and gathering things to eat that evening. This salad has a lot of stuff you have growing in your yard, or at your farmer's market, so make use of all that local produce in this lovely salad.

And take note of the extra step with the quinoa. I have discovered how to get quinoa creamy with no bitter flavor. I buy prewashed quinoa but don't stop there. I soak it in cold water for 30 minutes. During that time I stir it around a couple times. After soaking, drain it really well and rinse in cold water. It makes a huge difference. Try it!

One more note, if you are short on time and your quinoa is not cooling fast enough, lay it in an even layer in a 13 x 9 pan and put it in the freezer. Laying it in a thin layer lets it all cool down quicker. You can also make the quinoa the night before or early in the morning, along with blanching and prepping your vegetables. That makes assembling go a lot quicker, too.

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  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 Tbsp. sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen edamame, cooked al dente in boiling water for about 5-7 minutes, then cooled
  • 2 1/2 cups corn kernels (cut it off left over corn on the cob, or use canned)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1/8 cup finely chopped basil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped chives
  • 2 cups torn up baby spinach leaves
  • About 2 cups chopped cooked chicken (we get a rotisserie chicken to save time)
  • 1 cup quinoa cooked in 2 cups chicken broth then cooled (follow my presoaking instructions above)
  • Lemon Dijon Honey Dressing,
  • makes 1 1/2 cups or so, store what's unused for another salad later in the week
  • 1 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 a lemon, juiced (we sometimes add a touch more juice to give more of a bright punch)
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • Whisk all the ingredients, adding canola oil last. Whisk as you add the oil until emulsified. Store in an airtight container for a week or so.


Level of difficulty Average
Cost Average budget


Step 1

In a large saute pan, cook onion and garlic in the 2 Tbsp. butter until translucent. Add the corn and cooled edamame. Cook vegetables for 1-2 minutes. Let the vegetables cool down.

Step 2

In a big salad bowl, tear up the spinach and lay it on the bottom. Slice up the tomatoes and add, then the cooled corn and bean mixture. Add the fresh herbs, quinoa and chicken. Give everything a good toss. Add about 1/4 cup-1/3 cup of dressing and mix well. Add the feta and almonds last, and toss again. Taste and adjust salt and pepper, and add more dressing if needed. I like less dressing to let the flavors of the fresh vegetables come through. You can serve the salad with extra dressing for your guests if they need it.


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