When the weather heats up, sometimes you want to avoid the big heavy dinners. In the everlasting quest to be healthy, integrating fresh veggies in new ways can be a challenge and a pleasure.
I took some of the classic cold summer salad recipes and merged them to include tiny stelline “star” pasta and quick cooking quinoa on top of some fresh endive spears to create a fast, crunchy, and healthy bite. It’s perfect as an app, a side, or the main dish.
Quinoa Summer Salad filled Endive Spears:
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups of chicken stock or chicken broth
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1 cup stelline “star” pasta
- 5 pickling cucumbers, peeled, ends trimmed, and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 1 small red onion, cut into 1/4-inch cubes (can also use a red shallot)
- 1 large (firm) tomato, cored, and diced
- 1 bunch Italian parsley leaves, chopped
- 2 bunches mint leaves, chopped
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 heads endive, trimmed and separated into individual spears
Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the quinoa, stir once, and return to a boil. Cook uncovered, over medium heat for 12 minutes. Strain and rinse well with cold water, shaking the sieve well to remove all moisture.
Boil the stelline pasta in one cup of water for about 6 minutes. Since it’s so small, it cooks pretty quickly. Drain and cool, combining with the cooled quinoa.
When dry, transfer the quinoa and pasta to a large bowl. Add the cucumbers, onion, tomato, parsley, mint, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and toss well. Spoon onto endive spears, top with avocado (optional), and serve.
We made some quick marinated rosemary-lemon chicken which we grilled on an electric grill. Super easy and light summer meal, which kept us both full for hours afterwards.
Thanks and happy eats,