A few weeks ago I made this amazing orzo salad, but the pasta left me feeling weighed down. The dressing was what was so fantastic: white wine vinegar, mustard, shallots. I wanted to recreate a healthier version while still staying true to what I loved about the original recipe. Sam helped me throw this together for a picnic we went to where the crowd had some serious diet restrictions. Think allergic to nuts, gluten-intolerant, and vegan. This would also make a great addition to your Fourth of July menus!

Summer Quinoa Salad
based on this recipe from Sunset Magazine

You will need:

  • 1 pound fresh green beans
  • 1 1/2 cups dried quinoa (8 oz.)
  • 3 ears fresh corn
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup minced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon or 2 teaspoons dried tarragon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes (12 oz.), rinsed, stemmed, and cut in half


    1. In a 5- to 6-quart pan over high heat, bring about 2 quarts water to a boil. Meanwhile, rinse green beans, trim off ends, and pull off any strings. Cut into 2- to 3-inch lengths. Add beans to boiling water and cook until barely tender to bite, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and immerse in ice water until cold; drain well.
    2. Fill same pan with 2 1/2 to 3 quarts water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add quinoa and follow instructions on back of box. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain well.
    3. Meanwhile, husk corn, discarding silk; rinse ears. Holding each ear upright in a large, deep bowl, cut off kernels close to the cob.
    4. To make dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, shallots, mustard, tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste.
    5. In a large, wide bowl, mix orzo with 1/2 cup of the dressing. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Spread level. Layer corn kernels, green beans, and tomatoes over pasta. Pour remaining dressing into a container. Cover and chill both salad and dressing until ready to serve.
    6. Shortly before serving, pour three-fourths of the remaining dressing over salad and mix gently to blend. Add more dressing and salt and pepper to taste.

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    1. My boyfriend is really into quinoa right now so I think he'd like this. :) Thanks for the idea!

    2. Made this on the 4th and it was so delicious! Then I thought why not sub quinoa in other pasta dishes? It still works and is really tasty. I'm going to try subbing pasta with millet next. Thanks for the idea!

      1. that's so great to hear robyn! glad you liked it!


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