So, you’ve been riding a clean eating streak for weeks. You’re proud of yourself. You feel good. But you are stressed to the max about navigating all the family parties, potlucks, pool parties on your summercalendar.  I know exactly how you feel. I’ve been there too. It makes even the fittest girl hide under a blanket in her Pjs and in front of the tv all weekend. Not that I’ve ever done that.

Next party or potluck bring something along that you feel good about eating.

This salad is great because it’s not just a lettuce salad or veggies and dip. This will fill you up. It is full of protein and the robust and spicy flavours will make you so happy you’ll pass right by the deviled eggs and the layered cream cheese nacho dip.

It’s supper easy too and  you can make it ahead.  And it’s best served room temp. This could be your go to potluck dish! The dressing has an incredible smokey flavour that pairs so nicely with the grilled veggies.  If you want a vegan salad skip the feta,  it’s good without.

Quinoa and Grilled Veggie Salad

Adapted from Canadian Living
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 each red and yellow sweet pepper, quartered
  • 1 zucchini, cut lengthwise in 1/2″ strips
  • 1 eggplant (med sized), cut lengthwise in 1/2″ strips
  • 10-12 asparagus spears, trimmed
  • 6 green onions, cleaned and trimmed
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled (optional, and leave out for a vegan salad)
  • 1/4 toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup fresh cliantro, roughly chopped

Soak the quinoa under in tap water for several minutes to remove the bitter coating, rinse well and drain completely.

Toss into a hot dry stock pot and stir for a several minutes to toast the grains.  Since the grains are wet, it will take a few minutes before they dry out enough to toast a bit.  You will begin to smell the grains.  Add the stock and the 1 cup of water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, and cover.  Set timer for 15 minutes.

Prepare the dressing (see recipe below).

When the quinoa is cooked (the water should be completely evaporated and you should easily see the little germs of each seed,  they kinda look like “tails”) fluff with a fork and spread onto a large plate to cool.

Warm up your grill.  Toss the prepared veggies with about 3 tbsps of the dressing. Massage into the veggies to coat well.  You may need a bit more for the eggplant. And place on a grill over medium heat.  Veggies should be slightly (but only slightly!) charred and tender.  Asparagus and green onions will be done first, followed by zucchini, eggplant and peppers.

Cut veggies into bit-sized chunks and throw into a bowl. Add quinoa, remaining dressing, about half of the feta cheese, cilantro and pumpkin seeds.  Toss well.  Sprinkle with remaining feta on top.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

 Chipotle Vinaigrette

The chipotle pepper in adobe sauce adds a significant amount of heat and smoky flavour to this dressing.  Just a warning, it can be very spicy.  When it comes to dressing the final salad, you may want to add some then taste for your liking before adding the rest.

  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (just one pepper, not the whole can!)
  • 1-2 Tbsp agave
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper

If you have a mini blender – Magic Bullet or something similar – throw all the ingredients in and blend well, at least 1 full minute so that pepper is fully pureed

If doing by hand, mince the pepper very finely then whisk with the remaining ingredients.