Shrimp Quinoa Salad + Cupcake Angelfood

After the past two weeks of chicken, I was ready for a light, summer meal this week for date night in, so I decided for this tasty quinoa salad from Iowa Girl Eats. Side note: If  you've never visited her blog, do it! She's got some great recipes and healthy life motivation. I tweaked the recipe a little, but I really love the simplicity of throwing this salad together and the option to serve it warm or cold. I also made this salad for a girls night in with some of my friends and it was a super hit!

Quinoa is something new that I've tried to start cooking with more, as a healthier alternative to white rice and pasta. If you've never cooked quinoa before, fear not! It's as easy to cook as rice and has your typical grain taste, nothing crazy. On top of that, quinoa has some GREAT health benefits. It's high in protein, which makes it a great choice for a grain. It also contains tons of fiber, almost twice that of other grains. You can read more about the health benefits of quinoa here.

Serves: Approximately 5 people

Ingredients:

1 lb shrimp (sauteed in a little oil and garlic) 1/2 cup dry quinoa 1/2 cup red onion, chopped 1 orange, peeled and segments chopped 1 avocado, chopped 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained 1 cup frozen corn, thawed 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped salt & pepper

For the Lemon Vinaigrette: 2 lemons, juiced (need 1/4 cup juice) 2 garlic cloves, microplaned or finely minced (I substituted garlic powder) dash of sweetener (agave nectar, stevia or honey) salt & pepper 6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions. Set aside to cool.
  2. For the Lemon Vinaigrette: combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid, and shake to combine. Or, add lemon juice, garlic, sweetener, salt and pepper into a small bowl and whisk in oil.
  3. Combine cooled quinoa with red onion, orange segments, avocado, beans, corn, cilantro, salt and pepper. Pour Lemon Vinaigrette over the salad and stir to combine. Serve cold or at room temperature.

And because we're still having peak summer temperatures over here, I was definitely in the mood for a white wine paired with the summer feel of this dinner, so we had Angel Food by Cupcake Vineyards. I'm not huge on super sweet whites, which is what I thought this would be the first time I tried it, but I was pleasantly surprised. It's a white blend, and while it is on the sweeter side, it has a lot of Chardonnay characteristics, with flavors of the toasty vanilla I love. Think of it as Chardonnay's more optimistic little sister. (;

If you're still looking for some easy, tasty summer recipes or drinky drinks to beat the heat, I highly recommend trying these!