Thai Quinoa and Vegetable Salad (Vegan + Gluten Free)

Whole grains, a rainbow of vegetables, and protein-rich edamame come together for a healthy, make-ahead meal that is PACKED with nutrition! A clean homemade sunflower seed butter sauce adds Thai flavor and ties the dish together.

Folks, everyone who's anyone knows I'm more than a little ratchet. But this weekend - Cinco de Drinko - A MARGARITA HOLIDAY - was out. of. CONTROL. Roll the tapes:

Sombreros? Oh yes. (Or more like straw cowboy hats). FREE DRANKS? Always. #thanksJohnnyPistolas. Me convincing a man who had a cake at the bar that I was a professional pastry chef and needed to try every cake in DC so I was aware of the local competition? THAT happened. And I would not have it any other way.

Alas, what goes up, must come down (with a hangover) (and some bloat). THE SOLUTION - quinoa. 

PROBLEM: I didn't have quinoa.

SOLUTION: Buy quinoa.

I headed over to Safeway after my workout and was searching desperately for the quinoa when an employee approached me.
Man - Can I help you find something?
J - No I'm fine!
Man - *Starts walking away*
J - WAIT COME BACK I NEED QUINOA
Man - What's "quinoa"?
J - It's a grain! It's like rice! In fact... it's probably by... THE RICE!!!

I started sprinting away at a furious pace, only to find that Safeway Man was following me on my hunt for quinoa.
Man - How did you pronounce that again?
J - Keen-wah.
Man - It starts with a Q doe.
J - YEAH, but like, it's a GRAIN, and it's a COMPLETE PROTEIN, and I'm VEGAN, and I need it I need it!
Man - Damn girl, you sound so fit. Take my business card and text me. I wanna try your gym out.

As an ambassador to a gym who awards me points for visitors who mention my name, my ears perked immediately.

J - YEP BUSINESS CARD GIMME GIMME!

So, I got Safeway dude's business card. And BOY is it a trip. Between his slogan ("You'll be amazed!"), his offerings (Snow Removal! Plumbing! Fresh Water and Salt Water Fish???), and his texting habits ("Gm how r u doing on this rainy day"), I cannot express how glad I am that I reached out to him for my quinoa needs.

...but mostly so I could make this recipe, aka my lunch and dinner for the whole week.

The entertaining and somewhat unwanted texts are just an added bonus.

Thai Quinoa and Vegetable Salad

To make this salad, you will need:
- ¾ cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 cups red cabbage, shredded
- 4-5 medium carrots, shredded
- 2 green onions, diced
- ½ red onion, diced
- 1 ½ cups edamame, shelled (fresh or frozen)

Bring 1 ½ cups of water to a boil over high heat, then stir in uncooked quinoa. Turn heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes, until water is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy.

While quinoa is cooking, shred your red cabbage and carrots, dice your green and red onions, and prepare your edamame according to package directions (if frozen). Then, prepare your dressing.

To make the dressing, you will need:
- ¼ cup sunflower seed butter (or creamy peanut butter)
- 2 T soy sauce (or tamari, if gluten free)
- 3 T light rice vinegar
- 1 t honey
- 2 t ginger, minced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Water to thin, if necessary

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until fully combined. Add salt, pepper, and water until you reach your desired taste and texture.

To assemble, combine the cooked quinoa, red cabbage, carrots, green onions, red onion, and edamame in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss to combine, then serve!

This salad can be stored in the fridge for up to a week, so it is perfect for make-ahead lunches or dinners during the week. It's all I've ever dreamed of and so much more!

XOXO,
Jess