Vegan Protein-Packed Red Quinoa Salad with Avocado, Arugula & Citrus-Balsamic Vinaigrette

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This salad is jam packed with protein (from the quinoa, black beans & chickpeas) and light & healthy & delicious.  The ingredients here are all optional – as is the case with all salads.   This recipe makes an enormous party-sized quantity so – either be prepared to feed a lot of people or to eat it every day for a while – or cut the recipe in half.  Do not dress the whole salad & do not add avocado until you are serving it.  That way – the salad will keep longer.  UPDATE 4-18-16:  Without the avocado & dressing on it – this salad stayed fresh in my fridge for a full week.

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Vegan Protein-Packed Red Quinoa Salad with Avocado, Arugula & Citrus-Balsamic Vinaigrette

Makes a boatload of salad – at least enough for 6 as an entree – more as a side

INGREDIENTS

for the salad

(these quantities are very flexible – so make your salad to taste)

3-4 cups cooked red (or other) quinoa (cooked according to directions & cooled)

1 English cucumber – diced

1 cup chopped cherry (or other) tomatoes (I used heirloom)

1 15-oz can black beans – drained & rinsed

1 15-oz can chickpeas – drained & rinsed

1/2 cup sliced black olives

1 red bell pepper – seeded & diced

3 scallions – sliced

1 cup corn (fresh cut from the cob is best but I used frozen)

1/2 red onion – diced

1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)

Avocado (as much or as little as you like – I used 1/2 avocado per serving) – cubed & lime juice squeezed on it

Arugula (optional – as a bedding)

for the citrus-balsamic vinaigrette

5 TBS of juice from lemons & limes (use either one or a combo of both for a total of 5 TBS)

1-3 garlic cloves – minced

2 TBS white (or other) balsamic vinaigrette

1/4 cup cilantro – chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 tsp cumin

S&P to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Cook & cool your quinoa.  You can even rinse it in cold water & drain it to cool it quickly.

Whisk the dressing together & season to taste.

Toss all the salad ingredients – EXCEPT the avocado & arugula – and stir to combine.

If using arugula – put some on plates.  Top with quinoa salad & drizzle with dressing.  Top with avocado.

Shove it in your face & feel strong & healthy!

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