Packing your lunches at home is a great way to control your food intake, save money, and choose the foods you know you will enjoy eating at your mid-day meal. The Fiesta Quinoa Salad-In-A-Jar provides a way to pack your lunch all in one container! Quinoa adds protein, magnesium, and potassium to your meal, and has a low glycemic index to help regulate blood sugar. The high fiber content of quinoa slows down the rate of digestion, helping you to feel fuller longer. You may choose to add in Chia Seeds to this recipe, which contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and calcium. This recipe is also vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free. Prepare your grab-and-go lunches a few days ahead and refrigerate them so they are ready as you head out the door on busy mornings!
Fiesta Quinoa Salad-In-A-Jar
Quinoa Pilaf Ingredients (makes 4 cups, enough for 8 individual salads):
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Dressing Ingredients (for 1 jar):
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon taco seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon ground chia seeds (optional)
Salad Ingredients (for 1 jar):
- 1/4 cup corn (fresh or frozen); patted dry if wet
- 1/4 cup black beans (chick peas), rinsed, drained, and patted dry
- 1 teaspoon diced jalapeno (if more heat is desired)
- 6-8 small grape or cherry tomatoes, left whole (optional)
- 1 cup packed greens (optional); cut romaine lettuce, uncut arugula, uncut baby spinach, or shredded cabbage
Two ways and sizes for making this salad in advance:
- Without greens in a 1/2 pint (1 cup) jar or container: Layer the quinoa pilaf and salad ingredients, omitting the greens
- With the greens in a pint (2 cup) jar or container: Layer quinoa and salad ingredients, with greens added to the top of the jar
- Make Quinoa Pilaf: In a strainer, rinse the quinoa under running water for 60 seconds, until water runs clear; drain. In 2 quart pan on stove top, heat olive oil over medium-high heat; add onions and cook until soft. Add garlic and stir for 1 minute. Add water, quinoa, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove lid, remove from heat, and fluff with a fork. Set aside to cool.
- Combine dressing ingredients in bottom of jar, stirring them with a fork. Add 1/2 cup cooked & cooled quinoa pilaf; use a fork to toss with dressing until well combined. Level out quinoa for an even bottom layer. Unused quinoa pilaf may be frozen for use in making salads in the future.
- Layer the salad ingredients in the order given from the bottom up. If adding greens in the pint jar option, you can pack them in to get as much as you want in the jar.
- Put a lid on the jar and refrigerate. Salad should stay fresh for around 4-5 days, depending on the freshness and type of ingredients used. Jars that include greens may have a shorter shelf life.
The smaller jars without the greens can be stirred and eaten right out of the jars. The jars with the greens at the top are easiest to eat if you pour them out onto a plate or bowl. The dressed/flavored quinoa serves as the dressing for greens. If you prefer more dressing, increase the amount of dressing ingredients added to the bottom of the jar. Although these are often eaten cold; if you prefer a hot version, you can heat the jars (without the greens) in the microwave for 1-2 minutes; stir and eat right out of the jar.
Serving size: Pint jar of Fiesta Salad with greens
264 calories, 8.0 g total fat, 40.8 g carbohydrates, 9.1 g dietary fiber, 10.9 g protein
Cost per serving: $2.18
Recipe adapted from www.theyummylife.com
By Kayla Sand