Summer Salad Series II: Quinoa strawberry salad with balsamic vinaigrette

Before I start, may I just say that I CANNOT spell “vinaigrette” to save my life.  I knew I was bad at spelling, but even I am impressed by my ability to spell the damn word wrong every single time.  Once again spell checker, you are a constant source of sanity.

BREAKING: The rumours surrounding the apparent deliciousness of balsamic vinegar and strawberries are true.  Completely, 100% true.

The other night was the first time I tried this fantastic blend, the likes of which can only be trumped by the combination of chocolate and strawberries.

But that wouldn’t be any good on a salad, now would it?

As you can tell from the blog title, this is the second salad in my new Summer Salad Series (alliterations are truly an underappreciated literary device).

A beautiful picture I saw on Tastespotting last week was what inspired the creation of this salad.  The blog Salad Pride features one new delicious looking salad a day, and will surely be the victim of much idea borrowing as the summer months progress.

Since normal couscous and I have a love-hate relationship (translation: to my dismay my couscous somehow always comes out resembling mashed potatoes), I decided to try out something new: Israeli couscous.

When I saw it in the Bulk Barn, I was intrigued.  It looked like the tiny noodles you used to get in East Side Mario’s Italian wedding soup.  Heck, maybe it was one in the same.

Turns out I didn’t love this couscous.  It had a strange sort of taste to it, and got clumpy when brought as leftovers the next day.  In the future I’ll probably stick to quinoa or just normal couscous, which I will hopefully develop some sort of ability to make.

On top of the couscous I, of course, had to add my favourite food of summer 2011: quinoa.  You can’t tell me I’m not getting my protein intake!  Topping it all off were freshly quartered strawberries, whose soft crunch and succulent juices provided the sweet contrast that only berries can offer.

All of this was piled on top of a bed of fresh baby arugula – a curiously spicy and tasty salad green.  I still have loads of it left, so watch for it making an appearance in upcoming dishes (arugula: I’ll be here till Wednesday!).

Also, I accidentally threw out the recipe I created, so the one you see below the jump is as accurate a rendition as I can remember… Apologies, friends.

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Gluten-free vegan quinoa burgers with potato salad

Gluten-free and vegan!  Excitement! 

Update: As my roommate and fellow food blogger Brittany has kindly informed me, I should probably clarify that the bun is not GF, only the burger patty itself.  There. Now go forth and cook.

My summer burger craving got resolved the healthy way.

Like: square burger patties. Dislike: harsh sunshine shadows

I was in a bit of a rut last night when trying to figure out what I wanted for dinner.  The balmy summer weather and sweaty bike commutes were making me drowsy and in desperate need of something that resembled an easy going weekend BBQ.

As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve virtually stopped using meat in my dishes (besides chicken, because chicken is just so damn good), a result of both my inherent cheapness and the fact that meat now makes my stomach feel like it wants to rip itself to shreds.

Anyways, my attempted vegetarian-minus-chickenism, led to the finding of an alternative burger source.  Back in the winter I made a chick pea burger, which turned out to be awesome and extremely photogenic (like I’ve said before, food miraculously tastes better if it’s also pretty).  Since I couldn’t very well duplicate a recipe, I settled on making quinoa patties.  Chalk up another win for my favourite protein-filled summer grain!

I had no idea how to make quinoa burgers, so I googled recipes, settling on the very first one I read.  From here, I actually tweaked the recipe a lot (translation: left out a few non-critical thing), making my burger so incredibly cheap (without sacrificing taste).  There were loads of delicious spices that made for a tasty patty and a pretty pan:

And because no impromptu Thursday night BBQ is complete without a salad, I quickly whipped up a potato one, matched with crunchy celery and red pepper and drizzled with a smooth dijon vinaigrette.

Dinner was eaten on the patio in our hammock.  Bliss.

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