Caprese Quinoa Salad

Last year, after reading the Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr I decided to give up meat. During that time, I experimented with a lot of new foods, including quinoa, and even though I'm back eating meat (... I want to stop again!) I'm still eating quinoa. (Pronounced KEEN-wah!)

Quinoa is popular among vegetarians because it's a great source of protein. It's a whole grain, and one of the easier grains to prepare. It's also fiber-packed and extremely filling! I looked it up online and thought it was interesting that the World's Healthiest foods website reports the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations has officially declared 2013 be recognized as "The International Year of the Quinoa." Hooray! It's the year of quinoa!

Alright, so, a few warnings: the first time I tried to make quinoa, it was a total disaster. I made a TON (you have to be careful because a small amount of uncooked quinoa yields a lot of cooked quinoa!) and because I didn't have a recipe to try at the time, I just mixed it with some onion and veggies. I also tried to season it. Blah! It was awful! Thankfully, this recipe I'm about to share with you  (found via Fit Foodie Finds) gave me hope in quinoa again. There are several other recipes I've made (and lots I still want to try-- thanks Pinterest!), but this is my favorite. :)

Photos and styling by Lauren-Michelle! Cannot wait to do another shoot with this girl soon!

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{Gorgeous photos courtesy of Lauren-Michelle}

This recipe couldn't be easier y'all. Four ingredients and simple as: Cook. Cool. Cut. & Mix.

It's a no-brainer!

Cook:

  • To cook the quinoa, bring one cup of water and a 1/2 cup quinoa to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer until all the water is absorbed. (Watch it while it simmers so that it doesn't burn or dry out- the setting should be on low.)

Cool:

  • Let the quinoa cool off for awhile before you add the other ingredients! I put mine in the refrigerator! In the meantime, get to cutting!

Cut:

  • I slice cherry tomatoes in half and the mozzarella in baby squares. (The original recipe uses much larger mozzarella balls!)

Mix:

  • Combine all your ingredients and add your basil! If it's dry, you can also add a tablespoon of olive oil! For the basil,  I like to use the gourmet garden fresh basil paste you can find at most grocery stores. I like the way it spreads over the other ingredients so easily!  (PS: The Gourmet Garden website has fun and interesting facts about fresh herbs! Learn about basil!)

Enjoy!

  • It's that easy y'all! Scoop out some quinoa and enjoy it :)

A few notes: Be aware that quinoa is not a low-calorie food. It's very nutritious (so the calories are good calories!) but if you're keeping a close watch, just know that one cup of quinoa is a little over 200 calories!

Quinoa

Granted, with this particular salad, you're not eating all quinoa-- it's a mix of mozzarella and tomatoes. According to MyFitnessPal (for this recipe), it's approximately 245 calories per serving. I don't think that's bad at all, considering how delicious and filling it is!

Be careful, though, because if you're like me, you'll start throwing in a lot more mozzarella and basil than needed and you may fool yourself thinking it's only 245 calories! Use the recipe builder on MyFitnessPal like I've done here to calculate your version of this salad!

 

Caprese Salad

If you have any questions about this recipe or about quinoa, leave them in the comments and I will try to answer them best I can! Yay for quinoa! (I suspect there will be many more quinoa recipes on this blog! Stay tuned!)

Do you eat quinoa?

What's your favorite quinoa recipe? 

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