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I pull out my favorite vegan salad recipe on those types of nights that come about once a week when the last thing I want to do is cook something for dinner. When you're pregnant, that happens more often. I've devised a collection of recipes that are my go-to meals for those nights, and this southwestern style salad fits the bill.
You do have to do some chopping, although you could bypass that hassle by buying precut lettuce and vegetables at the grocery store. Honestly though, the vegetables will taste better if you stop by the local farmers' market and pick up what's fresh that week, and then just spend a little time rinsing it and chopping it.
You could even do a huge batch once each week and then store the pieces in airtight containers so they're ready for those don't-want-to-cook nights. I use this method for cooking grains; I'd rather make a big batch at the beginning of the week and store it for later than cook a small batch every night we want it for dinner.
My favorite vegetables to add into this salad are romaine lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, fresh corn, avocados, carrots, cabbage, and jicama. I love it with kidney beans, but I've also used any bean I have in the house and really enjoyed it as well. You can really use anything that's fresh and readily available. I load the bottom with steamed quinoa, but it would be awesome with brown rice, barley, or any other whole grain you love.
I top the vegan salad with a slightly spicy lime vinaigrette that I make myself, but you could also pick a favorite dressing and just top your salad with that. You can also top with any kind of seeds or nuts you like.
Ingredients for Vegan Salad:
Ingredients for Cilantro Lime Dressing:
In a small bowl, start making the salad dressing by combining the lime juice, cilantro, mustard, garlic, agave nectar, cayenne, salt, and pepper and whisking well.
While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and continue whisking until it's well combined. This will allow the dressing to emulsify and will prevent it from separating.
In a big salad bowl, put in the cooled cooked quinoa. Top with chopped romaine lettuce, and then the kidney beans on top. Layer the rest of the vegetables on top of the beans and cover with avocado. I cut the avocado last to keep it from turning brown, and then I immediately cover it all with the dressing, also to keep it from browning.
Add salsa and seeds on top and you're ready to eat.