Grilled Balsamic Vegetable Salad with Quinoa

Every once in a while, I dream up a recipe in my head and then when I make it, it tastes perfect. This doesn't happen very often, but it happened today! My greatest secret in keeping our organic eating lifestyle INEXPENSIVE is that we don't eat a lot of meat. I refuse to buy cheap meat from a mainstream grocery store because it is full of arsenic, growth hormones, antibiotics and junk that I don't feel comfortable allowing my family to eat. Yes, you can find great deals on chicken for less than $1/lb, but it's not worth it to me.  Buying meat at the farmer's market is not cheap! This is why we try to eat a lot of vegetarian meals, and we think of meat more as a side dish rather than the focal point of a meal. Using veggies and grains to bulk up a meal is both INEXPENSIVE and tasty!  I have been craving grilled veggies for the past week. I love grilled seasonal veggies,smothered in sauce and lightly sprinkled with salt and pepper. Yum. I wanted to make a meal that was centered around grilled veggies that would taste delicious and not leave us feeling hungry. The best way that I could think to do this was to serve the veggies with quinoa. Quinoa is the only vegetarian source of protein that contains all essential amino acids. It really is a superfood that we all need to eat frequently! My husband will only eat quinoa if it has a lot of flavor to it. I knew that I wanted to season our veggies with balsamic dressing, but then I came up with an even better idea of dousing the quinoa with balsamic! This meal is truly bursting with flavor. For those of you who have husbands who are reluctant to eat a vegetarian meal, I assure you this meal is worth trying. It is so refreshing and delicious! I think we might add this to one of our weekly meals. We also added grilled corn to this salad, although it is not pictured above.
 Grilled Balsamic Vegetable Salad with Quinoa
Serves 4
1 small Eggplant
1 red Bell Pepper
1 red Onion
2 ears Corn
8 Asparagus spears
4 cups cooked Quinoa
Skewers (optional)

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1tsp salt
4 cloves garlic

Place all dressing ingredients in food processor. After ingredients are thoroughly mixed, place in refrigerator. Cut bell pepper, eggplant,  and onion into 1 inch pieces and place on skewers. Place skewers and asparagus spears on platter. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic. Without removing the husks from the corn, pull them back slightly and pat corn with olive oil and salt. Wrap husks over corn to be placed directly on the grill. Grill veggies for approximately 15 minutes or until desired crispiness. Cut the corn off of cob after it has cooled. Place 1 cup of quinoa on each plate and serve veggies atop the quinoa. Drizzle generously with the balsamic dressing. Enjoy!

Lisa Clouse  – (May 17, 2012 at 3:38 PM)  

That looks amazing! Nice job!! :) Photos are very nice as well. I smell a cookbook!

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