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If you have been following us on Instagram you know that Mardi Gras season just ended here in New Orleans, and MY GOODNESS, what a party. It was our first year experiencing that chaos of parades and events and endless king cake and crawfish and hot dogs and fried chicken and fair food and we went HARD. Here in NOLA the motto is “laissez le bon temps rouler”or,”let the good times roll”, and guys, I reeeally let them roll. And by roll I mean rolls, on my body, because king cake.
So, now that Mardi Gras has come and gone it's time for a little reset in the kitchen and I have been working to come up with a handful of fresh recipes to replace the fried deliciousness of Mardi Gras in a simple, easy way. Enter my new favorite way to get my protein without having to work for it: Ancient Harvest Heat-and-Eat Quinoa!
If you follow this blog regularly you know we are big fans of Ancient Harvest products (find our recipes for baked polenta bites here and our recipe for cranberry apple crumble with quinoa flakes here!) because they make it so easy to incorporate plant-based foods into your diet, and Ancient Harvest Heat-and-Eat Quinoa my be the easiest of them all! Whether you’re looking to create delicious sides or build a main course, all you have to do is pop this bag in the microwave for 90 seconds and it is ready to enjoy! Plus, it has 11g of protein per serving! I love including quinoa in my salad recipes because of the texture, flavor and protein that it adds, but I have always hated cooking it, so this stuff has really elevated my salad game.
So, now that I've shared with you one of my favorite salad/side/main course/food-in-general hacks, let me show you one way that I use it: Layered Mediterranean Salad Jars with Quinoa!
Making salad jars is such a perfect way to meal prep because it keeps that wet things wet and the rest of the ingredients fresh so you are eating a crisper salad instead of a wilty one from a tupperware. This recipe is also great because it doesn't require much of a dressing because the delicious flavors of the quinoa, vegetables, kalamata olives and feta are so wonderful on their own. And did I mention the quinoa takes 90 seconds!?? Got it. Let's get to the recipe.
Mediterranean Layered Jar Salads with Quinoa
Makes 2 quart-size jars, serves 2-4
1 cup Ancient Harvest Microwavable Heat-and-Eat Quinoa
1 cup canned chickpeas
1 cup chopped cucumbers
1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup sliced kalamata olives
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup sliced almonds
3-4 cups chopped spinach
1/2 cup shredded chicken (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare the Ancient Harvest Microwavable Heat-and-Eat Quinoa by squeezing the pouch to separate the quinoa, tear open the pouch about 2 1/2 inches to vent, then heat in microwave on high for 90 seconds.
In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning, if desired.
When ready to assemble the salads, evenly divide the dressing between 2 wide-mouth mason jars (32 oz. quart size). Then evenly divide the remaining ingredients and add to the mason jars. I have had the best experience with putting the chicken first, followed by quinoa, greens and veggies, and then the cheese and almonds on top. Seal with lid and store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
When serving, pour contents of the mason jar into a bowl. Stir around to help get dressing distributed and enjoy!
Is it weird to call a salad pretty? Look at those colors and textures! You're going to love filling your jars with this delicious salad and you're going to love eating it even more.
What are your favorite hacks for healthy eating? I'd love to hear them!