Mint Julep Quinoa Salad

A mint julep goes salad-style with hearty quinoa, colorful grilled veggies, crunchy pecans, and fresh mint. Serve it as a side dish or main course all summer long! This surprising summer salad is loaded with southern flair.

Ingredients

For the Salad

  • 1 c uncooked quinoa
  • 15-oz can of black-eyed peas
  • Medium sweet potato
  • Small red onion
  • 2 ears of corn
  • 2 peaches
  • ~20 fresh mint leaves
  • Big handful of roasted salted pecans

For the Dressing

  • 0.25 c peach balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp bourbon
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • Generous sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook your quinoa as directed. My approach is to use 2:1 water:quinoa (so in this case, 2 c of water for 1 c of quinoa). Bring it to a boil, then reduce to a very low simmer and let it sit (with the lid on) until all the water has been absorbed, ~15 minutes. Important point: salt the water!
  2. Let the quinoa cool to at least room temperature; conversely, you can make it the night before and keep it in the fridge. This is actually really important for texture, since adding dressing to warm quinoa makes it gummy and sticky.
  3. Drain and rinse the black-eyed peas.
  4. Cut the sweet potato into rounds and grill over medium heat until tender and lightly charred.
  5. Cut the red onion into rounds and grill over medium heat until tender and lightly charred.
  6. Grill the corn until completely cooked.
  7. Put together your dressing by giving the ingredients a quick whisk in a measuring cup.
  8. In a large mixing bowl, combine the quinoa, black-eyed peas, chopped grilled sweet potato, chopped grilled onion, and corn. Pour the dressing over the top and give it all a thorough mix.
  9. When you're ready to serve, mix in the peaches (diced into bite-sized pieces) and the mint (cut into very fine ribbons).
  10. Transfer the salad to a serving platter.
  11. Garnish with pecans at the end, so they keep their crunch, and a few additional mint leaves.