I just returned home from a lovely trip up to the Northwest (Seattle and Portland), visiting hubs family and taking in the local sights.  While I was there, my Mom-in-law, who is an amazing cook, introduced me to her new favorite quinoa salad recipe, which comes from Naomi Pomery (owner of acclaimed Portland restaurant, Beast).  The WSJ recently published a 4-day series featuring her “slow food fast” recipes, including including this one for her quinoa with sweet peas and sour cream dressing.  We had this the first day we arrived, and it was definitely a hit with hubs and me – so light, summery and fresh!

Also, while I was visiting, the Sunday newspaper arrived, and the front page of the Food & Wine section featured “a trio of tabbouleh salads”.  While each of these recipes recommends different grains, quinoa would work well in any of them.  We tried the “California Tabbouleh”, which was SO delicious! The salad calls for fennel, green apple, blue cheese and almonds – Yum!  I’m looking forward to trying the other two recipes, as well.  You can find all 3 online HERE.

I adore the health benefits of quinoa, but often struggle to find yummy ways to prepare it.  I’m now convinced it’s best chilled, as a salad, with fresh ingredients mixed in and a light dressing.  There are many different variations on quinoa salads, and once you try a few recipes, it’s pretty easy to experiment with the ingredients for new and yummy flavor combinations.  Let me know if you have any favorite quinoa salad recipes.  They make great side dishes for picnics (especially since they’re mayo-free), or nice light, healthy summer dinners.

Enjoy!

This June 6, 2011 photo shows, from top to bottom, tropical tabbouleh, Mediterranean tabbouleh and California tabbouleh in Concord, N.H. When you're assembling your salads for this year’s July Fourth celebration, consider this trio of naturally healthy tabboulehs. Photo: Matthew Mead / AP

This June 6, 2011 photo shows, from top to bottom, tropical tabbouleh, Mediterranean tabbouleh and California tabbouleh. (Matthew Mead / AP)