Here in Nashville, local grocer, The Turnip Truck is doing a promotion in conjunction with several foodbloggers to raise awareness about their location in The Gulch, a newly-booming area of downtown Nashville. It's a big deal for this area to have a nice grocery, particularly one that has a good selection of produce (much of it local and organic) as well as high-quality staples and a good selection of products sold in bulk. It means shoppers don't have to schlep out to Green Hills or the next county to get these items. The Turnip Truck Urban Fare also has a really nice hot bar, cold bar, and deli case. It's a pretty popular lunch spot for the people who work (and record, ahem, Ben Folds) in the area.
Anyway, they asked me to come in, check out the selection and come up with a recipe based on the ingredients I found in the store. This was, of course, only difficult because of having so many options. But I settled on this really light and refreshing quinoa salad with tomatoes, corn, and cucumber since I've been on a quest to make better use of quinoa as well as use my favorite summer vegetables (and fruit, if you want to be technical).
Not only is the quinoa sold in bulk (and for a great price), the vegetable broth I needed is also sold in bulk. In powder form! I'm very happy about this since I don't use more than a cup at a time usually and don't have a lot of room in my pantry. This powdered vegetable broth is cheap and tastes great.
I was also happy to find organic, heirloom cherry tomatoes from Delvin Farms in the produce section. The store carries some conventional produce as well, but (pro tip alert)definitely be sure to stop by on Tuesdays and Thursdays when the Delvin shipments come in so you can get the best selection.
So, about the salad. It's really good. Like I said, really refreshing and bright. Even Mini Eats liked it, as you can see from her photobombing my session here. Also, it's really easy to make, though it does require a little advanced planning if you want it to be cold when you eat it.
But you don't have to make it yourself to try it out; my salad will be available on the cold bar and in the deli case this Wednesday, July 18 at the Gulch location. So stop by and check it out and then tell me what you think. It's even better with a little Noble Springs goat cheese crumbled on top (which, conveniently, you can also get at The Turnip Truck) or some avocado. Those of you who like spicier foods might want to add a little jalapeno to it, too.
Quinoa Salad with Tomato, Corn and Cucumber and Lime Vinaigrette
loosely based on a recipe from Serious Eats
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
1 cup rinsed quinoa
1-2/3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped tomatoes from 2 medium tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 cup cooked corn, from 1 cob or frozen
1 cup diced cucumber (seeds and peel removed), from one medium cucumber
1/4 cup finely chopped green onion (optional)
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup lime juice (from 1 large lime)
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
Heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add onions and saute until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add quinoa to onions and continue cooking, stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes. Add vegetable broth and stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Cover the pan tightly with a lid, turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, until liquid is absorbed. Transfer cooked quinoa to a medium bowl and chill in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, to make the lime vinaigrette, add all ingredients to a small container with a tight lid and shake vigorously until mixed.
When the quinoa is cool, add the vinaigrette and stir well. Mix in the tomatoes, corn, cucumber, green onion, and cilantro. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Optional: top with crumbles of cotija, queso fresco, or goat cheese or chunks of avocado.
*Unless it’s noted on the package, assume that the quinoa you’ve purchased is unrinsed. If you do not rinse it, you may get some residual saponins that will give it a bitter and unpleasant taste. Rinse vigorously for 1-2 minutes in a fine strainer or sieve or fill a bowl and massage the quinoa to clean it well and then drain through a cheesecloth or other straining utensil.
*To de-seed the cucumber, cut in lengthwise quarters and shear off the seed side.
Now, for the fun part: the giveaway! The Turnip Truck has offered to give one of my readers a $50 gift card for use at either of their locations. In addition to the great bulk food and produce selection, they have a great dairy case, an amazing selection of high-quality frozen foods, and carry a lot of local products such as Olive & Sinclair chocolate. And so much more. To enter the contest:
1. Leave a (one) comment telling me the first thing you'd like to buy with your gift card? Kenny's Farmhouse cheese? Marinated white beans from the cold bar? A Justin's almond candy bar (highly recommended)? Beer? Vitamins? Nooch? Booch? Just about anything you can think of you'd need from a "natural market" is there. This comment is mandatory to enter.
For up to 3 additional entries, you can do the following. Leave a separate comment for each since every comment is an entry.
3. "Like" Lesley Eats on Facebook. If you already do, just leave a comment saying that you do!
4. "Like" The Turnip Truck Urban Fare on Facebook. If you already do, just leave a comment saying that you do!
The contest is open from now until Monday, July 23 at 3pm CDT when I'll choose the lucky reader at random from the entries. I will inform the winner via email that afternoon, so be sure to include a valid email address each time you comment! If I don't receive a response from the winner within 48 hours, I will choose another winner. The winner will need to pick up the gift card at the Gulch location in Nashville at 321 12th Avenue South, so please make sure you are able to do so before entering the contest.
Update: This giveaway is closed. Congratulations to commenter #73, NashvilleRN!