Quinoa, corn, and feta salad with fresh herbs

Savor the last few weeks of summer with this fresh salad. Toss quinoa, corn, and feta cheese with whatever fresh herbs you have on hand.

Garden of Eating
Nothing says corn like summer. Keep a couple ears of grilled corn on hand to toss in salads, like this one!

This salad is a new summer favorite. It's delicious and easy to make, especially if you've got some leftover grilled corn lying around. It also goes well with lots of things and tastes great the next day – my husband and I devoured the leftovers and I wish I'd made a bigger batch. I plan to make it again very soon!

The inspiration for this salad came from Bev, a dear family friend who was like my second mother when I was growing up. Her daughter, Dawn, was my companion until about 9th grade and the three of us spent many happy hours together, swimming at Big Deep, walking around town, and, of course, eating. Bev is a wonderful cook – I still sigh just thinking of her divine fried chicken and potato salad.

But back to this delightful salad! I recommend cooking the quinoa in vegetable broth to give it a little more flavor – it makes a big difference. And don't forget to rinse it first to get rid of the bitter saponins.

A word to the wise, leave yourself time to let the quinoa cool down after you make it. I was in a rush when I made this so I did not have time to let my quinoa cool down and the feta kind of melted into it as you can probably see in the photos. It's just as delicious that way but not quite as pretty as when the feta is in distinct pieces. And, while we're on the topic of appearances, I didn't have any red quinoa on hand when I made this, but if you do, I think that would give the salad a little more visual pop.

Chop the herbs and prepare the corn if you don't already have it on hand. I like to cook an ear or two more than I need in order to have some handy to throw into salads, salsas, corn bread, or fritters. As I've mentioned, I'm really enjoying my new corn stripper but a sharp knife will also work perfectly well.

Mix it all together with a little olive oil and lemon juice, then season with sea salt and black pepper to taste and stir in the chunks of feta cheese. That's it!

I hope you enjoy these last few weeks of golden summer.

Quinoa, corn & feta salad with fresh herbs
Serves 4 as a side

1-1/2 cups quinoa

2-1/2 cups vegetable broth or water

1/4 to 1/2 cup (the more the better, I think) coarsely chopped fresh herbs – you can use oregano, basil, cilantro, thyme, parsley, marjoram, mint, etc.,

Juice of half a lemon 

1-2 cups cooked corn kernels (grilled is the tastiest)

1 cup crumbled feta cheese – I would choose a harder/drier variety over one of the softer ones

Olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Cook the quinoa: bring a medium-large pot of water to a boil; while it's heating up, rinse the quinoa in several changes of water and drain thoroughly. Once the water reaches a boil, add the quinoa, stir, and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes on low heat or until you see the little curly white tail of the quinoa grains emerge. If there is too much liquid, leave the lid off for the last few minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in a few tablespoons of olive oil and set it aside to cool with the lid off.

2. If you don't have cooked corn kernels on hand, use the time that the quinoa is cooking to grill your corn – get the simple directions here – two ears should be plenty. Once it's cool enough to handle, cut the kernels off the cobs and set aside.

3. Wash, dry and chop the herbs. Combine the quinoa, corn, herbs, and lemon juice with a little more olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the crumbled feta cheese and toss to combine.

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