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Arugula, Quinoa, and Plum Salad

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This delightful summer salad is perfect for when you don't want to cook an elaborate dinner. Ripe plums lend sweetness and bright color, and the zesty lemon-mint vinaigrette livens up peppery arugula. Thanks to the quinoa and almonds, it is a filling meal on its own. Feel free to substitute peaches or nectarines for the plums. 

Arugula, Quinoa and Plum Salad
Makes two large portions or four side salad portions
Quinoa salad:
3/4 cup red quinoa
4 cups arugula
2 to 3 ripe, tart plums
2 ounces goat cheese (about 1/3 cup crumbled)
1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds

Lemon vinaigrette:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small lemon, zested and juiced 
1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon honey
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cook the quinoa: first rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh colander under running water. Then transfer it to a pot and add 1 1/2 cups water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover, reduce the heat and simmer. Cook until the quinoa is tender and has absorbed most of the water, about 17 minutes. 

In the meantime, make the vinaigrette. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest and juice, mint, honey and a dash of salt and pepper until emulsified. 

Once the quinoa is cooked, drain off any excess water and let the quinoa cool for a few minutes. Toast the almonds in a small pan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant and turning golden. Pit and slice the plums into 6-8 slices each. In a serving bowl, toss the arugula with the quinoa, plums, crumbled goat cheese, almonds and vinaigrette. Serve immediately. 

Notes: It is best served immediately, although leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for a day. This salad is gluten free. 

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