This summer, my oldest is at camp for the first time. It’s not like a sleep away camp – he gets the bus at the local Y to an outdoor Y center in the next town and spends all day there getting disgustingly dirty (seriously – he came home yesterday and I asked him if he just lays down and rolls in the dirt) and having a great time. The program has these so-called Family Fun Nights, where they serve (for a nominal fee) a meal of hot dogs, baby carrots, and watermelon. As an adult, that meal holds zero appeal for me. It didn’t either for a friend of mine who brought a really tasty looking salad made with veggies, black beans, salsa, and brown rice to the last FFN.
I saw her the following weekend at a birthday party and she gave me the recipe (which includes eggplant) and the method (cooking on the grill in a disposable tin). I don’t eat eggplant unless it’s fried and coated in marinara and mozzarella, so that was out immediately. And while her method is super easy and involves almost zero clean up, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to include a vinaigrette when I was working with this, so I didn’t think the grill would work.
I will eventually try the recipe (minus the eggplant) the way it was intended, but I tried it this way and I think it came out pretty well. I love, love, love grilled vegetables. I could eat them every night, happily. They’re great leftover in burritos, eggs, salads – anything really. I liked the way this came out.
This was my first time cooking with quinoa. I wasn’t sure if red or white would be a better choice (still not sure) or if there’s a taste difference. I think quinoa, because it’s kind of bland, is a good fit because it lets the vegetables and the salsa speak for itself. I forgot to rinse the quinoa before I cooked it, but when I made this a second time I remembered and the difference in texture was significant. So rinse your quinoa. The slightly nutty taste of the quinoa and the sweetness of the grilled vegetables was a good match. Next time, I may have my husband grill a couple jalapeno peppers as well to add in – it just needed a little more heat. So if you like spicy, either add chili powder or use a spicier salsa. I used a little bit of olive oil on the veggies so they wouldn’t stick to the grill – you could sprinkle cumin and chili powder on the veggies before you grill them as well, which I may do next time. The second time I made it, I added garlic powder and chili powder to the broth before I added the quinoa. It definitely added some flavor, but I still think it needs some kind of chili pepper or spicier salsa.
I served this as a main meal, but you could certainly serve this as a side with grilled fish or chicken or even steaks.
Grilled Vegetable Salad with Quinoa
- 1 medium zucchini, sliced thickly lengthwise
- 1 medium summer squash, sliced thickly lengthwise
- 1/2 large red onion, sliced in rings, about 1/4 inch thick
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels (I used Trader Joe’s fire roasted)
- 1 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 bunch scallions, white and green parts cut
- 1 1/2 cups jarred salsa
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- salt and pepper to taste
Grill zucchini, squash, and red onion until charred, but not mushy (about 10-15 minutes – should be the same amount of time as your quinoa). Veggies should still be firm. Chop into bite size pieces.
Cook quinoa and chicken broth according to package directions. Stir in frozen corn kernels, black beans, and salsa once quinoa is cooked. Add grilled veggies and salt and pepper.
Serve with a sprinkle of scallions and a squeeze of lime juice.
This is really good with a cold, summer beer.
Weight Watchers Points: 4