Sometimes the best food comes about not through a recipe, but because you are absolutely flying by the seat of your pants and winging it with whatever you find in your fridge. In fact, I make up recipes this way often enough that our middle child refers to it as “future food.” Why future food? Because in his mind, no one has ever eaten it before, so it’s food for the future. I can’t argue with nine-year-old logic, so I just go with it.
This particular recipe came about one sunny summer afternoon when we decided to have some friends over for a bonfire. It was a last minute thing, and I didn’t have time to run to the store, so I was scouring the fridge and pantry for some things I could put together quickly. It didn’t take long to put together a veggie tray and some fresh fruit and a meat and cheese tray, but I wanted something akin to a pasta salad. I had a container of leftover quinoa in the fridge, so I figured that would be faster than boiling pasta.
A quick look through the drawers of my fridge turned up a few leftover ears of corn on the cob, half a bag of spinach, some feta cheese, and a single avocado. Paired with one of the tomatoes sitting on the counter from my garden, it made for a pretty easy (and colorful!) side dish option. While it looked pretty, it lacked a little in flavor, so I ran through some dressing options in my mind. Normally, I would have thrown together my favorite Greek vinaigrette from scratch, but I lacked a few ingredients needed for it, so I scrounged through my pantry.
Johnna and I are both in love with Aldi’s House Vinaigrette, and we tend to stockpile it whenever they actually have it in stock. I poured some of that in and stirred things up, and the flavors blended perfectly. All in all, it took less than ten minutes to throw this recipe together.
There’s plenty of room for personal taste here. I’ve thrown in diced red onion, green onion, fresh peppers, cucumber, celery, carrots and any number of other veggies over the years. I’ve also swapped out the feta for goat cheese, fresh mozzarella and several other types of cheese, or left it out altogether if I had Vegan friends coming over. Think of this more as a suggestion than a solid recipe.
- 4 cups cooked quinoa (red, white or a blend)
- 2 cups chopped fresh baby spinach
- 1 medium avocado
- 1 medium tomato
- 2 ears cooked corn on the cob
- 4-6oz feta cheese crumbles
- Your favorite vinaigrette
- Slice avocado and tomato into ¼ inch cubes or chunks.
- Cut corn off the cob, then break into bite size chunks.
- Add spinach, avocado, tomato, corn and cheese to quinoa and stir until combined.
- Add half a cup to three-quarters of a cup of dressing, according to your personal preferences.
- Chill for at least 30 minutes and serve cold.