By Ziad, member
Posted: June 25th, 2013
If you can, make your salad well in advance, even up to a day before serving. This gives the grains time to absorb the vinaigrette and lets the flavors meld. Take the salad out of the refrigerator 30 to 45 minutes before serving so that it is not ice cold; it will be most flavorful when just slightly chilled or at room temperature.Created Using: Grain Salad
Rinse the quinoa under cold water and drain. Bring 7 cups of water to a boil in a 4-quart pot over high heat. Add 3/4 tsp. salt. Add the quinoa, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally and adding more boiling water as necessary to keep the quinoa covered, until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and rinse the quinoa with cold water to stop the cooking.
Transfer the quinoa to a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with 1 Tbs. of the olive oil, and toss lightly to coat. Spread the quinoa on the baking sheet and cool completely at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
Put the rice wine vinegar in a small bowl and gradually whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil. Whisk in the olives. Taste and season with salt, pepper, and additional rice wine vinegar or olive oil as needed.
Put the cooked and cooled quinoa in a large serving bowl and toss to break up any clumps. Add the cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, yellow squash, radishes, lentils, basil, mint, and chives and 1/2 cup vinaigrette and toss. Taste and season as needed with more vinaigrette, salt, and pepper. Serve or refrigerate for up to 1 day. If making ahead, let sit at room temperature so it's not refrigerator-cold and season with more vinaigrette, salt, and pepper before serving.
Feel free to quickly sautee the squash (and zucchini-not in the list of ingredients) before adding to the salad. You can use herbs such as thyme and oregano added at the of the sauteeing process. Add olive oil to the salad if you wish.