First up is this Thai Quinoa Salad with Herbs and Lime Vinaigrette.
I got the recipe over at Once Upon a Chef, and really pretty much made it exactly as instructed (for once), so I'll just link you there.
I will say I used both cilantro and basil and I really wouldn't leave either out even though the basil is optional- it was all the fresh herbs that really made this salad. I know some people don't like cilantro, which apparently to some extent might be due to genetic differences in chemosensation. But here it adds such a fresh taste, I just really wouldn't skip it. Fortunately I'm growing basil on my fire escape this summer, which means I have 3 different kinds (Thai, Greek, and purple) so pretty much around here fresh basil goes on everything!
The other thing you must must must do is use fresh lime juice (now that limes aren't as insanely expensive anymore). When you pick a lime, be sure to pick not the biggest one, but the heaviest one- the ones with thinner skin that seem surprisingly heavy will have the most juice. Bottled citrus juice just really can't compare! And for something like this that is so refreshing, you just need the real thing.
The recipe makes quite a bit (I used a lot of veggies so got way more portions out of it than the original post suggested), which is good because one thing I like about grain based salads is the ability to keep them in the fridge and take portions for lunch. The quinoa also makes it very filling as a main dish. By the last day I had to refresh a bit with some new and more crunchy cucumber and some fresh herbs but in general it lasted quite a while. Once, I even had it with some tilapia on top- I put a frozen filet (from costco) in a ziplock bag with lime, sesame oil, and the same herbs as went in the salad and let it sit until the fish thawed, then just cooked it in a pan. This was AMAZING on top of the salad- it would definitely be something you could serve to guests at a summer dinner party.
If you're feeling hot and not up to much more interaction with the stove than boiling some water, give this a try! It was bright, refreshing, and a little different- perfect!