Christina’s Quinoa Salad

I have a confession to make. I went to the gym today (first time in months) and managed not to break a sweat. No, I was not standing in a corner, yes I burned calories, and yes, I do think it was better than sitting on my butt.  For those of you who frequent the gym and are judging my “laziness”– I felt quite accomplished even getting myself to step foot in that claustrophobic joint, infested with grunting men attempting to carry the weight of their car on their shoulders. It was such a disappointment that I might just take up running…and we all know how I feel about running.

Have you ever felt like you had to sacrifice a decent meal if you decide to go to the gym or do an activity after work? I once asked my friend how she is so regimented with her workouts and her response was, “The nights I workout, I know I am going to sacrifice a hot meal”.

If that doesn’t make me run from the gym (at least I’d be running) I don’t know what will. Key word above is Sacrifice.  As you get to know me more, you’ll know that one thing I will never cease to slack-off at is cooking. I am diligent and motivated by it.  And let’s not forget the immediate reward following the hard work.

That all said, I have found a dish that does not take a long time and won’t leave you feeling like you have to make another trip to gym to balance out your calorie intake. It is filled with fiber, protein and vitamins. Did I mention it’s fun, easy and positively delicious?

2 bell peppers, chopped (try to use different colors
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
1-16oz can of chicken, drained (*V- you can leave this out and add an extra can of black beans)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can black olives, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups dried Quinoa
3 cups chicken broth (to make vegan, substitute chicken broth with water or vegetable stock)
3 cloves garlic, pressed or smashed
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tbs salt

1. Combine quinoa, dash of pepper, and broth in a pot and cook it over medium heat with the lid closed on the pot. It should take about 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on it
2.Once the liquid has fully absorbed, pour the quinoa into a heat-safe salad bowl
3. Combine the rest of the ingredients into the bowl and stir well.

4. For best results, refrigerate for an hour prior to serving.
***If you have time, save the salad for the following day. It tastes even better after it has marinated for several hours****

Bon Appetite!

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