Quinoa Watermelon Salad – A Song to SUMMER!

Watermelon Quinoa Salad

HAPPY SUMMER SOLSTICE, Rock Star!

That is RIGHT! Today is the first day of summer. I hear the birds singing, the crickets chirping, the grasshoppers hopping, and see the (almost) full moon overhead as the cool evening air gently caresses the skin. The highs here in Southern California have been parked in the low 90′s for a few weeks now, and the evenings have sauntered around the low 60′s – simply delicious for this here native-born Las Vegan.

Inspired by the summer season upon us, this salad celebrates all the fruits and veggies that begin to pop up. Watermelon! Fresh English Peas! Cucumber! Red Peppers! Basil! Strawberries! If you can find Fresh English Peas, dude, GO FOR IT! My farmer’s market had them about two weeks ago – apparently it’s a super-short season, but you never know (we may see them this weekend)! Some farmers plant a little later/earlier than others so harvest may be staggered – extending the availability for us! Yey!! In the event that you can’t find fresh, organic frozen are fine!

Watermelon Quinoa Salad

I must give credit where it’s due… I first had this salad at Eureka Burger in Claremont about four months ago, and I was IN. FREAKIN’. LOVE. It’s not too often that you find a ‘salad’ that pushes the boundaries of what a ‘salad’ is thought of to be by the general public.

Eureka Burger is the kind of place that attracts craft beer lovers, and I think that group of people expects a certain level of creativity when it comes to… well anything, really. Perhaps the craft beer movement is paving the way for some sort of “craft food” movement, where a “southwest chicken salad” just isn’t going to cut it anymore.

Watermelon Quinoa Salad

While I really love the craft beer movement, enjoying that shit means you’re taking in a ton of calories; empty ones. This salad also has a ton of calories, but these calories are not empty like the delicious liquid counterpart. Instead they are packed full of nutrition and protein – and without meat! When you source all of your stuff locally and organically, you just cannot go wrong. After a night out with a brew (or two) and a meal like this, you can rest assured that you will wake at the next sunrise ready to conquer the world, well nourished in mind, body and spirit!

Cheers to you, and BRING ON SUMMER!

Quinoa Watermelon Salad
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 4
  • Calories: 580
  • Fat: 27.4
  • Saturated fat: 6.8
  • Carbohydrates: 72.7
  • Sugar: 26
  • Sodium: 819.3
  • Fiber: 7.9
  • Protein: 17.6
  • Cholesterol: 0
Recipe type: Salads
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This salad sings summer with ingredients readily available right NOW!
Ingredients
For The Salad
  • 1 Cup Dry Organic Quinoa (I used fair trade, organic Royal Rainbow Quinoa from Alter Eco)
  • 1 Cup Diced Organic Tomato
  • 1 Cup Diced Organic Cucumber
  • ¾ Cup Very Thinly Sliced Red Pepper
  • 4 Organic Green Onions, sliced (both white and green parts)
  • ½ Cup Fresh Organic Green Peas (frozen is fine if you can't find fresh)
  • ¼ Cup Dried Cranberries
  • ¼ Cup Organic Basil chiffonade
  • ½ Cup Quartered Organic Strawberries
  • ¼ Cup Sunflower Seeds
  • 4 One Inch Thick Slices Watermelon, cut into 6 spears each
  • 4 Ounces Feta Cheese, crumbled
  • 1 Cup Organic Microgreens/Pea Shoots/Sprouts
For The Dressing
  • ¼ Cup Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Organic Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Organic Balsamic Vinegar
  • ½ Teaspoon Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
  • ¼ Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 2 Teaspoons Hot Sauce
Instructions
  1. Prepare the quinoa by rinsing very well first, then cooking as the package suggests. Generally it is 2 cups stock/water to 1 cup quinoa, cooked for about 20 minutes until all liquid is absorbed.
  2. Fluff with a fork, transfer to a large bowl, and place in the refrigerator to cool.
  3. Once cool, add the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, green onions, peas, cranberries and basil.
  4. Whisk all dressing ingredients together in a small bowl, then add to the salad mixture and mix everything together well.
  5. Divide the mixture into four bowls, packing well, and invert onto four plates.
  6. Place six watermelon spears on the plates over the quinoa mixture, forming a pyramid-like structure.
  7. Top each salad with divided strawberries, sunflower seeds, feta cheese, and finally microgreens/pea shoots/sprouts, and serve!

 

Posted in Mains, Salads & Dressings, Vegetarian.

19 Responses to Quinoa Watermelon Salad – A Song to SUMMER!

  1. Wow, what a flavor packed combination! I loved that you put hot sauce in your dressing. Your salad looks like summer on a plate to me. Good job.
    Cathy @ She Paused 4 Thought recently posted..2013 SERV International Recipe Competition – Colossal Chicken & Veggie Tower “SERV”ed with LoveMy Profile

  2. Martina says:

    I gotta try this!!!

  3. Jeremy says:

    Mmm mmm GOOD

  4. Cookwizme says:

    Hi! I love your salad! We are making a “Summer Salad” contest, if you like, partecipate, we’d love to have great bloggers like you in! =) https://cookwiz.me/contest

  5. This looks like it’s full of flavor and texture! Love how you’ve captured summer.
    Tessa @ Handle the Heat recently posted..Roasted Tomato SoupMy Profile

  6. Susie says:

    Oh my gosh this has to happen. I have pretty much everything except the watermelon and strawberries. Yum!
    Susie recently posted..Review: Avon Nail Art Design StripsMy Profile

  7. Closetfan says:

    I want to try this recipe because it sounds awesome but don’t know what basil chiffonade is?
    Thanks!

    • Hey Closetfan! Chiffonade is a cooking technique where you cut something (usually herbs) into long, thin strips. In the case of the basil, just stack the leaves on top of one another, tightly roll them up, then slice into thin strips with a sharp knife. If you don’t want to do that, you can just chop the basil roughly, but the chiffonade looks prettier! :-) Hope that helps!

  8. Closetfan says:

    Thanks SO much! I’ve actually used this method with other herbs but didn’t realize this was the name for the method.
    :-)
    I’m making this for dinner tomorrow night. I now substitute quinoa for almost all the brown rice recipes I cook.

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  12. Ashley says:

    Made this for a potluck. HUGE hit. So tasty. I used pine nuts instead of sunflower seeds, and skipped the strawberries because I didn’t have them on hand and used some blueberries instead. Delish.

  13. Cindy Dillingham says:

    I love this salad this first time I had it Eureka Burgers. Since I live 30 minutes from Claremont, it isn’t always convent to just hope on down to Eureka. Lately I’ve had a yearning for this dish and I stumble across your recipe and can’t wait to make this yummy salad. Thank-you for posting.

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