Lunch to Go: Quinoa Salad in a Jar

 Quinoa Salad in a Jar Mason jar mania is my favorite food craze since the cupcake. And to think I really didn’t catch on to this trend until after my post on refrigerator pickles! Thank you Recipe Redux! Call me a laggard. Nevertheless, I do adore this Mason jar movement which has taken a firm hold on our foodie culture.  I especially like the layered salad in a jar phenomena. It’s truly  a brillant way to pack a salad because it eliminates plastic containers, makes food look delicious, keeps all ingredients together yet keeps salad greens from getting soggy (thank goodness and why did it take sooo long!?)   If you’re tired of blah lunches, unhealthy food, and going out to lunch everyday, read on.

Here is the anatomy of my quinoa salad in a jar. It’s  a tote able lunch that will energize you through the second half of your day.

 Quinoa Salad in a Jar

When I first assembled this salad in the pint size, wide mouth Mason  jar, I didn’t think it would be very substantial.   But look below at  how it fills my dinner plate! If you’ve been making excuses for not eating healthy, break the cycle by improving what happens over your lunch hour. Now that the heat of the summer is behind us, spend your lunch hour outside enjoying  both the fresh air and a meal  that’s high in protein,  a whole grain, high in fiber, rich in antioxidants, low in fat, low in sodium, and  has no added sugar or preservatives. Remember, real change starts with the small stuff. Share the love with your friends 

 Quinoa Salad in a Jar Quinoa Salad in a Jar

Quinoa Salad in a Jar

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup julienne carrots
  • 1/4 cup sliced radishes
  • 1/4 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup steamed baby beets
  • 2 ounces cooked chicken
  • salad greens

Instructions

1. Combine honey and lemon juice and add to the bottom of a one pint Mason jar.

2. Layer remaining ingredients in jar, one on top of the other starting with julienne carrots.

3. Finish by packing jar full with salad greens.

4. Place lid on jar. Refrigerate or pack in a insulated lunch box with ice pack.

5. To serve: Shake jar and pour into a bowl or plate, or eat right out of the jar.

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Flower Power: Quinoa with Orange Blossom Infused Strawberries

 

Meet the new darling of my kitchen, orange blossom water.

photo-152I have the Recipe  Redux to thank and the June  theme, Floral Flavors:

 Nothing brightens up a dish like a real flower! Whether you live in the northern or the southern hemisphere, edible flowers can add flavor and aroma to salads, breads, spreads, desserts or dips. Make your recipe bloom with rose water, flowering herbs, floral teas, dried lavender blossoms or even fresh flowers like nasturtiums, violets, borage, squash, sunflowers or pretty much any blossom in a vegetable garden..

Last Wednesday, when faced with trying to come up with a recipe for this floral theme, I purchased my first bottle of orange blossom water. What is orange blossom water? Water distilled with the essence of flowers from orange trees, aka orange flower water.  It was surprisingly easy to find (in the International section of the regular grocery store). And here’s an instance where I wish there was smell technology so you could get a whiff of this stuff! It’s  about the  closest smelling thing to honeysuckle I ‘ve encountered.   (I feel an urge to  get my entire kitchen smelling this good.)

When I purchase this perfumed water,  I had no plan, and feeling the need to get acquainted I started to add it  to just about everything  I was consuming on Wednesday. First  a few drops into my bottled water, then a teaspoon added to my salad dressing at lunchtime, a splash into a berry smoothie. But the best match was, hands down,

 sweet  strawberries combined with fresh bitter orange blossoms. When I  added  in  the nutty taste of quinoa,  my work was done! It made a terrific side  to a meal of  coconut chicken, and broccolini. The next day, it was my breakfast cereal with a glass of cold milk. How about nutrition? Glad you asked. This dish is gluten free, fat free, low in sodium, a source of fiber, protein and vitamin C. Please check out the links to see what my colleagues have created with this fun floral theme.

Quinoa with Orange Blossom Infused Strawberries

serves 4-6

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients

  • 2 cups strawberries, cleaned, hulled and cut into quarters
  • 1/2 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons orange blossom infused water
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut flakes
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted dry toasted sliced almonds

Instructions

1.Place strawberries in a pie plate. Sprinkle with sugar and orange blossom  water. Allow to sit.

2. Rinse and drain quinoa. Place quinoa, water and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until water is absorbed and grain appears soft and translucent and the germ ring is visible along the outside edge of the grain. Remove from heat and allow to cool about 20 minutes.

3. Add quinoa to strawberry mixture. Add coconut flakes and almonds and gently toss to combine.

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