Chopped Kale, Cucumber, Pumpkin Seed Vegan Quinoa Salad in a Chipotle Lime Dijon Dried Herb Balsamic Vinaigrette a.k.a. On-The-Go Lunching FTW!
OKAY, next up on today’s meal prep schedule was this chopped kale, cucumber, pumpkin seed vegan quinoa salad in a chipotle lime dried herb balsamic vinaigrette! YOU BABES ASKED & I delivered! So, I gave you guys the choice between quinoa salad or buckwheat salad & the consensus seemed to be quinoa. SO QUINOA IT WAS! I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE your feedback & I’m so happy to give you guys more & more of what you WANT!
So, before we get right into it, I’ve spoken about some of the benefits of quinoa in my plant-based protein post because as you guys know, I’ve been getting VERY INTO plant-based foods ever since changing up my lifestyle & way of eating! If you want to read my post all about it, click here: It’s 2017: Let’s Plant-Based-Protein-It-Up! Ya Dig? (No Pun Intended!)
In a nutshell, quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods & contains almost 2x as much fibre as most other grains! It contains tons of essential vitamins & minerals, such as iron, lysine, magnesium, riboflavin (a B vitamin) & manganese!
As for pumpkin seeds, they are nutritional powerhouses containing tons of antioxidants, manganese, copper, zinc, promote heart & liver health, are anti-inflammatory, help with restful sleep & magnesium for heart health & muscle strength / recovery!
NOW, WHAT MAKES THIS SALAD SO AMAZING BESIDES ALL OF THAT?
- meal-prep friendly!
- gluten-free & vegan!
- packed with vitamins, minerals & nutrients!
- plant-based protein!
- healthy fats!
- perfect for on-the-go lunches to work or school!
- tangy & citrusy dressing!
SPEAKING OF TANGY & CITRUSY DRESSING… GUYS, THIS DRESSING THOUGH… it’s a Chipotle Lime Dijon Dried Herb Balsamic Vinaigrette & it’s so DANG DELISH that it will take you to another freaking place!!!!!!
And I seriously FREAKING IMPRESSED MYSELF WITH THIS ONE. Like, I don’t even know how the heck I came up with it, TBH. It was legit one of those “HEAD IN SPICE DRAWER” situations, where I was like, “OKAY, WHAT FLAVOURS AM I D FOR RIGHT ABOUT NOW?”, then I headed over to the pantry, whipped up some vinegars, got some Dijon (’cause I mean, what’s a dressing without it?) & the juice of an organic lemon et voilà! Sounds easy, right? YEP. THAT’S BECAUSE IT FREAKING IS.
ANYWHO, I’ll get into all the deets of how to whip the dressing up in just a sec, but first, let me just tell you what you need to make the salad, BECAUSE WHAT’S THE POINT OF THE DRESSING SANS THE GOODS? And by goods, I mean the salad…
All this to say, my loves, YOU WILL NEED:
FOR THE SALAD:
- 1 cup of organic quinoa (& 2 cups of water);
- A pinch of sea salt;
- A handful of kale, REALLY DAMN CHOPPED;
- 1 small red onion, DICED;
- 2 small cucumbers, DICED;
- 4-5 radishes, DICED;
- 1/4 cup of organic pumpkin seeds (Replace with sunflower seeds, if you prefer!);
FOR THE DRESSING:
- 3 tbsp. of organic balsamic vinegar;
- 2 tbsp. of raw organic apple cider vinegar;
- 2 tbsp. of maple syrup wine vinegar;
- The juice of one organic lemon;
- 1/2 tbsp. of Mrs. McGariggle’s Chipotle Lime mustard;
- 1 tsp. of ground cumin;
- 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika;
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper;
- 1 tsp. dried thyme;
- 1 tsp. of dried oregano;
- 1 tsp. dried basil;
- Sea salt for seasoning;
- OPTIONAL: 1 tsp. Sriracha.
Now that we’ve got them ingredients down-packed, let’s get to the nitty-gritty!
- First things first, you’ll want to cook the main event in this baby… I’m talking about the quinoa! Cook your quinoa according to package directions! I use the one by Nature’s Intent (It’s organic & non-GMO & you can get it at Costco!). The ratio for quinoa is usually 2 cups of water to 1 cup of quinoa!
- NOW, while your quinoa is cooking, chop up your veggies & set them aside!
- THEN, make your dressing! Simply add all the ingredients to a bowl & using a whisk or a fork, whisk ’em together until they’ve been fully combined & incorporated and you’re left with a unified silky smooth dressing!
- Once your quinoa is cooked, remove it from the heat & let it cool before adding in any of the veggies or seeds (because you don’t want them to become soggy from the heat of the quinoa!);
- Once your quinoa has cooled off, add it to a large mixing bowl & throw in the veggies, pumpkin seeds & season with the dressing! Toss the salad in the dressing until the quinoa, veggies & seeds are fully coated & seasoned!
- Store in an airtight container & refrigerate!
- I don’t know about you guys, but I find a quinoa salad is even better a day or two after because the ingredients have had the chance to absorb all the beautiful flavours from the dressing!