Quinoa, Tomato and Corn Salad

Tomatoes and corn are highlights of summer. Over summer, there are tons of tomato and corn recipes. By now, we’re scrambling to figure out what to do next. Not to mention, cooking almost every day of the pandemic has become quite tiresome. So, here is an easy, quick salad that can fill you up and find a new way to use all those seasonal tomatoes and ears of corn.

I really like how the tomatoes and basil add some sweetness. The corn and sunflower seeds provide a contrasting crunch. The mustard balsamic dressing that I use adds some savory notes to help balance things out. The dressing is very versatile and works well for other salads. It’s a great addition to your routine salad arsenal.

For this recipe, I used dry farm tomatoes. What are dry-farmed tomatoes? Yeah, I never heard of it until I was up the Bay Area for a stint. Dry farmed tomatoes are tomatoes where farmers limit the water that the tomatoes are given to encourage them to focus on sugar production. The result is a sweeter tomato, and I also find that they are less watery. So you have a sweeter tomato flavor with less tomato juice ideal for salad and eating raw.

If you can’t find dry-farmed tomatoes, don’t worry. You can use any tomato. I recommend smelling them to see if they have a fragrant sweet smell. Also, feel if they have a juicy feel, like if they are ready to pop. Remember, remember to store your tomatoes in a cool dark place on your counter, not your refrigerator.

Because you’re using a grain base, you can make a lot and easily store it for the next day. Leafy greens like lettuce and spinach are great but tend to wilt once dressed the next day.

As an added tip, this salad dressing calls for mustard. If your mustard jar is almost empty, simply put the other ingredients in the mustard jar. Close it and give it a good shake. That way, you use up all of your mustard.

For the adventurous chef

Feel free to add extra veggies like spinach and bell pepper to this salad. You can also try swapping out quinoa for barley or add some barley to the salad. I use sunflower seeds in this recipe, but try out pumpkin seeds.

Also, if you like this salad, experiment with different types of mustard. I like using spicy brown mustard, but why not opt into something different. Use Chinese spicy mustard for added heat, a honey Dijon for some sweetness, or American mustard for a mild bite.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ear of corn (or 1 cup of corn)
  • 2 tomatoes chopped
  • ¼ cup of sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 3 springs of fresh basil
  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • 3 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed or minced
  • 1 tbsp of mustard

Method:

  1. Cook the quinoa with 1 cup of water. Let the water come to a boil and then to a simmer. Keep the lid on to trap the steam. This will take about 15 minutes. Use a fork to break up the grains. Keep gently simmering until all the water has evaporated then set aside.
  2. If using an ear of corn, steam the corn for about 10 minutes. Once done, carefully remove and place in cold water. This helps to cool the corn for it to be handled. If you are using frozen corn or canned corn, make sure to boil it for a few minutes or sautee to heat up the corn slightly.
  3. Chop the tomatoes into bite-size pieces. Cut the kernels off the corn. Gently finely chop the basil. Place all the ingredients in a bowl with the sunflower seeds and quinoa.
  4. In a cup or bowl, mix together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, and the garlic cloves that have been finely crushed or chopped.
  5. Drizzle the dressing over the vegetables and quinoa and mix and add as much dressing as you like. If you have leftover, you can save it in the fridge for later. 

    Enjoy the salad! 🙂

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