My Chef's Hat - Quinoa Taco Salad

About 3 years ago I decided to cook more with fresh herbs.  Dry herbs are easy and always handy, but I was buying the big containers and never use them enough, so they lose their punch over time.  Fresh herbs add so much more flavor to any dish you add them to.  I was buying them at the grocery store, and they're really not expensive.  But I was running into the same issue of not using them fast enough and then they get really gross and slimy. 

Next step was to buy some seeds and plant them.  My dad has a super green thumb, and my parents' back yard looks like a local farm.  Me, on the other hand, not so much.  The problem with growing stuff from seeds is that I have no patience, and got annoyed that they weren't growing as fast as I thought they should, so I was still buying it at the store, waiting for my plants to thrive.  Big fat waste of my time and energy.

Last year I was at Lowe's in early March, and noticed all sorts of herbs and veggies that were already established plants!  Yes, I realize they're a lot more expensive than seeds, but you also get to use them immediately.  I planted them in pots, and as soon as it was warm enough, put them outside to get more sun and that natural water, better known as rain. That was great until it was into the 90's in May, and my poor plants didn't stand a chance, even in the shade.  And I was clearly too dumb to move them back inside before they all died

This past weekend I went to Lowe's and stocked up on basil, cilantro, thyme, oregano, parsley and rosemary.  I'll put them outside again when it warms up, but the second the thermostat hits 90, they're coming back in for the summer. 

Why am I telling this super long story about herbs?  Well, now that I have an entire herb garden in my dining area, I'm on a mission to find lots recipes that use fresh herbs.  I learned the hard way last year that if you don't clip herbs like basil and cilantro regularly, they won't survive very long. 

Tonight I was looking to make quinoa for dinner, but wasn't feeling any of the recipes I had already made or new ones I'd already found.  So after a little searching I found Quinoa Taco Salad.  It's full of ingredients that I love and looked really good. 

Here's the recipe picture:

And here's my version:

This was really, really good!  The flavors all worked perfectly together.  I juiced half a lime, and for that size portion it was perfect.   I'd never thought of avocado as a good accompaniement to quinoa, but it definitely was. 

I didn't have any lettuce, and I also needed some green veggies in there, so I tossed in some baby spinach.  The recipe calls for cilantro or parsley, and since I've already got some cilantro I needed to clip, I used that.  The recipe calls for olive oil "as needed".  I used about a teaspoon, and that was more than enough. 

When you put it on a plate it takes over the whole plate and looks like a ton of food, but it's really not.  Will I make it again?  Without a doubt!!

Recipe found on Gluten Free Goddess