In this house we are always looking to add more protein to our diets without using meat. Or at least make our meals more filling without adding meat. As we have mentioned 500 times already, we are not eating out so we make our lunches for the week on Sunday. Whatever we prepare on Sunday, we make enough to feed us the entire week for lunch. This ensures that we don’t spend any money because we already have it prepared in the fridge. Since we usually have a meat protein for dinner (to appease our little Viking, Isaac) we try not to have a meat protein for lunch. Therefore, I am always looking for ways to make veggie meals more hearty and filling. Quinoa is the perfect fix! I am not going to go into why quinoa is healthy and what benefits it provides because I am sure you already know. If you don’t know, google it! There is no denying it is getting it’s 5 minutes of fame right now as a super food. If you are like me, you are looking for ways to eat more of it. I have to admit I don’t totally like it by itself. I much prefer it added to dishes instead of it being the main ingredient.
There is mayo and bacon in this salad, so one may argue it’s not super healthy but I believe the quinoa cancels the not so healthy ingredients out. Also, there is no added sugar which most mayo dressed salad recipes have, so lets just say this salad is on the healthy side. Phil and I both really enjoyed it and the addition of quinoa makes it more filling and healthier than it would on its own. It was nice to be able to fill up a container for lunch and go. I blanched the broccoli to take some of the edge off. I don’t know about you but when I eat raw broccoli there is always so much chewing, this softens it just a bit so it’s not so raw. If you don’t mind the raw, skip blanching.
There is a little bit of prep for this salad, like cooking the bacon, quinoa and blanching the broccoli (which could totally be skipped). Once you have done those three things, the salad pretty much makes itself from there. Notice little hands in the picture above. Playing with Legos is important stuff and can’t be postponed even when trying to capture shots of a salad.
Quinoa Broccoli Salad
5 cups of chopped broccoli
2 cups of cooked quinoa*
1/2 cup of golden raisins
1/3 cup of chopped red onion
3/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
8 slices of cooked and chopped bacon
3/4 cup of mayonnaise
3 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp of maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Note* review this article published by Bon Appetit to learn the most common mistakes when cooking quinoa. Half of eating and enjoying it, is making sure it’s prepared properly.
Blanch broccoli in salted boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and add broccoli to an ice bath till completely cooled. Drain very well. I actually do this well in advanced to let broccoli drain in a colander (approximately 30 mins). Then dump broccoli on a clean kitchen towel to soak up any residual water. Transfer drained broccoli to a large mixing bowl, add in quinoa, raisins, red onion, almonds and bacon. Set aside.
In a small bowl whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing in the mixing bowl with the broccoli and other ingredients. Mix well. Serve chilled.