Crunchy Thai Quinoa Salad

Hello spring! While I'm overjoyed that today is the "official" start of spring, I'll admit that my heart won't be completely on the welcome bandwagon until I start to see one thing.... A year ago, after our California-blooded selves survived our first Minnesota winter, there was nothing more satisfying and rejuvenating than seeing tiny hopeful plant buds poke out a couple inches from the ground. Once I see those again this year, then and only then will spring feel like it has arrived. We've got an upcoming week of rain, so finger crossed those showers start to bring back from life to the Twin Cities area! In the meantime, my husband and I will be trading in comfort food based meals for light and refreshing meals. This crunchy thai quinoa salad has been one of our favorites so far. Not only is it a fast, and easy meal to assemble, but all the fresh, and healthy ingredients will have you feeling great afterwards. Did you know that not only is quinoa rich in numerous vitamins, but it also has twice as much fiber than other grains AND is one of the most protein-rich foods that we can eat?! Like, WHAT? It's also nice that it's so versatile and delicious! ;) The thai-inspired ingredients in the dressing add a pinch of spice to the overall dish, while the chopped peanuts and raw carrots give it the perfect amount of crunch! 

This meal would be perfect either shared with others over a picnic, as a protein-packed lunch at work, or simply a meal to wind down the day with. We served ours with some homemade thai iced tea - let me know if you guys want the recipe! Give this meal a try, your tastebuds will love you for it!


Serves 4-6
Total time: 30 minutes

1.  Cook per packaging instructions, then let cool in a medium sized bowl: 
               1/2 cup quinoa
2.  Add: 
                   1 cup carrots, matchsticks (roughly 3 medium carrots) 
               1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
               1 red bell pepper, diced
               1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
               1/4 cup peanuts, chopped

3.  Make the dressing: combine in a jar with a lid by shaking together: 
                   1 lime, juice
               1/3 cup olive oil
               2 Tablespoons brown sugar
               1 Tablespoon soy sauce
               1 teaspoon fish sauce
               1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper

4.  Pour dressing over salad, and mix until evenly distributed.