It’s Picnic Season!

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Did you know that Monday is National Picnic Day? We plan to celebrate this weekend by heading out with family to enjoy some fun in the sun and picnic treats!

There are lots of fabulous picnic-friendly foods that we just love, but right now the dish that tops our list is quinoa salad. This yummy side is similar to pasta salad, but it’s gluten-free so everyone can enjoy it! It’s a great way to use up leftover quinoa, and it’s simply delicious with sandwiches or barbecue.

Start by combining 1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Simmer the quinoa for 20 minutes. Remove the quinoa from the heat, fluff it with a fork and let it come to at least room temperature (or store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to make your quinoa salad).

Chop up about 2 to 3 cups of the veggies of your choice. (We like to use a combination of red bell peppers, cucumbers and thinly sliced carrots.) Very finely chop about 3 tbsp. of fresh basil. In a separate bowl, mix together 1/4 cup of olive oil, the juice from half of a lemon, a dash of salt and pepper, and two finely minced cloves of garlic.

Toss the quinoa and vegetables in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss the mixture until it’s evenly coated. Cover the quinoa salad and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour. (This allows the quinoa and vegetables to marinate in the dressing and get a really nice flavor.) Right before serving, sprinkle your quinoa salad with 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds or walnuts and 1/4 cup of Parmesan or feta cheese. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

What are some of your favorite picnic recipes?

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