Normally when I think of summer salads images of dark leafy greens, crisp romaine, and crunchy cool vegetables come to mind; this salad is a slight departure of my “normal” summer salad. Apricot Quinoa Summer Salad is a gluten-free grain based salad dense with vegetables and fruits of the summer season, specifically sweet apricots and cool cucumbers. Bursts of citrus, fresh herbs, and earthiness from nutty almonds create a great balance of flavors that turns this side dish into a complete entrée if wanted.
Apricots are incredibly sweet, so to balance the flavors I add citrus from oranges, a tang from raw apple cider vinegar, and earthy saffron. Saffron has become one of my favorite “new” spices in the past year or so using it in a lot of my cooked dishes, but have recently started to experiment with it in salads. Saffron is a beautiful red, small threaded spice which turns whatever you’re cooking using saffron a deep golden yellow, it’s a gorgeous tint of color. The presentation of this recipe is beautiful with flecks of fresh green parsley, orange apricots, brown almonds, green cucumbers, on the background of white or red quinoa.
Side note, stay tuned for a guide to all things summer produce later this week! To get a head start on summer produce, apricots and cucumbers are showcased in this salad giving this a light and refreshing feel to an otherwise “dense” grain. Truthfully, as much as I love apricots I had only enjoyed them in their dried form until last summer when I came across a bin of fresh apricots at the market- needless to say, I was instantly in love and every summer it’s one (of many) fruit I can’t get enough of. They’re a beautiful orange color and really fleshy, reminding me of a peach of some sort. Also, don’t do what I did and bite straight into it… there’s a pit. Ow.
Quinoa is amazing in this grain-based salad, it’s versatile as we all know from the many uses I share here, but also the grain of choice in this salad to add a boost of protein, minerals, fiber, and complex carbohydrates, it’s more satiating than just fruit and vegetable salads. Another bonus with this recipe, it’s perfect to bring along to any summer picnic, BBQ, party, etc. because nothing in this salad will “go bad”, much like mayonnaise based salads too common in the summer. I don’t know about you but the least appetizing thing I can think of is warm mayonnaise, yuck. I’d much rather sink my teeth into juicy and sweet apricots and crunchy cucumbers and have citrus bursts in every bite.
Enjoy this Apricot Quinoa Summer Salad as a side dish alongside any entrée or enjoy plain. Some of my favorite ways to eat this is actually adding this salad on top of another salad—crazy I know, take a couple handfuls of spinach, massaged kale, or even shredded cabbage and add this quinoa salad and stir. To make this side dish more of a meal, try adding proteins you enjoy such as tempeh or tofu (both organic), beans, eggs, extra nuts and seeds, hemp seeds are especially loaded with protein, and any animal proteins using the Nutrition Stripped philosophy.
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups filtered water
- 4-5 (200g) fresh apricots, halved and then quartered
- 1 cup fresh cucumbers, chopped
- ½ cup fresh zucchini, chopped
- ⅓ cup fresh parsley
- ½ cup almonds, chopped
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- juice of 1 orange
- 1-2 threads of saffron
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Bring the water to a boil, add quinoa and seasonings.
- Cook to simmer for 25 minutes or until quinoa is fluffy.
- Using the olive oil, orange juice, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, and saffron whisk until mixed for a dressing.
- Take quinoa off the heat, set to cool. Once cool, stir in all ingredients including the dressing and adjust seasonings to taste.
- Enjoy at room temperature or cold.
- Garnish with more fresh parsley and chopped almonds.
I mentioned I was making a guide on summer produce, are there are another summer specific recipes, guides, nutrition topics you’re all interested in reading? Share below please!
Nutrition Stripped in the news // check out my latest article in Spry Living for “Bring to work Kale Salads”
I know you’re all going to love this one– and share this post if you do!