Everyone gets into food ruts. You find yourself eating the same thing or same rotation of things over and over. Well, last week I was sitting at work eating my lunch and I realized I’d been eating basically the exact same salad every day for lunch… for weeks. I was in a lunch rut. I was itching for a revamp. I really wanted to switch things up.
As I was roaming through Shoprite my hands fell on a bag of tricolored quinoa. I tossed it in my cart half thinking I’d use it, half thinking it’d probably sit on my shelf for weeks. I don’t always love the taste of quinoa unless it’s dressed up just right, but I do love that it’s a high protein whole grain that I can sprinkle in salads for some extra carbohydrates instead of eating sweet potatoes at every meal (in hopes that my hands will turn a little less orange… that’s another story for another post though).
The Pinterest gods must have heard my internal cries for a lunch refresh that was healthy, crunchy, and spotlights quinoa because that day I stumbled upon a recipe for a thai peanut & quinoa salad that checked all my boxes! The idea here is that thin sliced fresh veggies get mixed up and studded with tender quinoa and coated with a peanuty sauce that’s just the right amount of sweet, smooth, and tangy. It’s PERFECT.
To get my veggies the perfect thin sliced for this salad, I use this OXO Good Grips Grate & Slice Set (Not an ad, but they should totally sponsor me). It has a base to catch whatever you’re slicin’ and changeable tops depending on the type of slice or grate you’re looking for. I use it to death.
It worked awesome for my carrots and my peppers! Next time I might even add some cucumbers sliced the same way. The cabbage and snap peas I sliced on my own.
This salad could be an awesome side dish or vegetarian lunch with just the veggies, quinoa, and dressing or you could make it a little more hearty with the addition of 3-4 oz of your favorite protein!
** I put measurements for the veggies in the recipe below just to give you guys an idea, but feel free to throw out my suggestions, eyeball it, switch things up, or add more or less of each! The idea is for 70% of your bowl to be veggies.
Rainbow Quinoa Salad
1/3 Carrot, thin sliced
1/4 cup thin sliced Red Cabbage
1/4 cup thin sliced Sugar Snap Peas
1/4 cup Red Bell Pepper
1/3 cup cooked Quinoa
1 tbsp Chopped Peanuts
1/2 Green Onion (Scallion), thinly sliced
Peanut Sauce (recipe for my favorite healthy & easy peanut sauce here)
3 oz. Protein of your choice - I’ve used chicken & shrimp (both were delicious!)
If you don’t already have cooked quinoa, bring 1 cup uncooked quinoa and 2 cups of water to a boil in a covered pot. Reduce to a simmer and cook until water is all absorbed. Remove from the heat, let sit for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork.
Chop and slice all your veggies for your salad. Add everything (veggies, peanuts, chopped scallions, and protein) to a nice big bowl and toss with enough peanut sauce to coat (1-2 tbsps).
Recipe adapted from Cookie and Kate.