Ah yes, the dreaded pasta salad. By far one of the best and easily-shoveled-into-your-mouth foods of July cookouts.
The downside of this dish is that it is loaded with trans fats and heavy carbs due to the large amount of mayonnaise and primarily pasta base. Too much of the pasta salad this summer can really knock you off course on your fitness journey.
Let’s replace that carb-heavy pasta with a grain superfood.
Quinoa has been around for thousands of years, is a tiny, high-protein grain from South America. According to Mary Sue Milliken from Food Network, it’s nicknamed the “wonder grain” because it cooks more quickly than rice, is virtually foolproof, and is lighter and more nutritious than other grains.
Here’s a zesty Summer Quinoa Salad recipe that will go great with your burgers, but will stop your from packing on the pounds.
12 cups water
1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed
5 pickling cucumbers, peeled, ends trimmed, and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 small red onion, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 large tomato, cored, seeded, and diced
1 bunch Italian parsley leaves, chopped
2 bunches mint leaves, chopped
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 head endive, trimmed and separated into individual spears
1 avocado, peeled, seeded and diced, for garnish
Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the quinoa, stir once, and return to a boil. Cook uncovered, over medium heat for 12 minutes. Strain and rinse well with cold water, shaking the sieve well to remove all moisture.
When dry, transfer the quinoa to a large bowl. Add the cucumbers, onion, tomato, parsley, mint, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and toss well. Spoon onto endive spears, top with avocado, and serve.
This will be a fan-favorite at your next cookout. You can also make a ton of it and save it for lunch or for snacks throughout the day, whether at work or having it in the cooler on the beach.
Managing Editor, The Stronger Blog
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