Aaaand, we’re back!
Although I miss Colorado already – sheesh! There just never seems to be a dull moment, and it’s so freaking beautiful. Case in point, the adorable ski resort town of Breckenridge, CO, nestled into the base of the mountains about an hour and a half west of Denver, where Ben and I spent the last few days of our Rocky Mountain vacay!
Just because Breckenridge is one of the most hoppin’ spots in Colorado during ski season, doesn’t mean it shuts down during the off season. From mountain biking to hiking, rock climbing to relaxing, “Breck” has a ton to do no matter what time of year you’re visiting.
The dining and drinking establishments also passed the test, and as soon as Ben and I arrived into town on Friday afternoon, we headed to Salt Creek, per my brother’s recommendation, for lunch on their outdoor patio.
Talk about a meal with a view!
The mountains weren’t so bad either.
My bro usually goes for what I hear is a can’t miss breakfast, but we were equally as thrilled by Ben’s hand-formed, gourmet Western Burger, dah-ripping with BBQ sauce, bacon, and onion strings,
and my Mixed Green Salad, which included well, mixed greens, goat cheese, dried cherries, toasted almonds, carrots, sundried tomatoes, and cherry tomatoes, fresh cracked pepper, and champagne vinaigrette. The best!
It felt like the 100th salad I’d eaten since we arrived in Colorado, but that didn’t stop me from devouring every last bite.
I guess there was something about the crisp mountain air and healthy outdoor lifestyle we experienced in Colorado that had me craving light and fresh dishes throughout the trip. I figure why stop now, and made a Fresh Corn & Blueberry Salad with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette to enjoy once we got home!
This quinoa-based salad studded with crispy sweet corn, sweet blueberries, cooling cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and fresh herbs is tossed with a TO DIE FOR Honey Lemon Vinaigrette.
Fresh and ultra-healthy, it’s light yet filling on it’s own, or can be made into a complete meal with the addition of grilled or sauteed shrimp, chicken, or fish.
I feel as though Colorado would approve.
Start the Fresh Corn & Blueberry Salad by cooking 1 cup quinoa that’s been rinsed VERY well under cold running water (to wash away the bitter coating on the outside of the quinoa) in 2 cups chicken broth until the quinoa is tender and the broth is absorbed, about 20-25 minutes. Let the quinoa cool completely. You don’t have to use chicken broth, btw, I just think it gives the quinoa tons more flavor!
While the quinoa is cooling, whisk together the Honey Lemon Vinaigrette that will dress the salad. This stuff is the ‘ISH! Start by microplaning 1/2 lemon to get 1 teaspoon lemon zest, then add it to a bowl with 1/4 cup lemon juice, which is about 2 regular sized lemons worth.
Add 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil to the zest and juice.
Then 1 Tablespoon honey, salt & pepper. Whisk the ingredients together then set aside. Dressing = done!
Now gather the rest of the salad ingredients in a large bowl, starting with the kernels from 3 ears of corn. Everyone seems to have their favorite way to get the kernels off the blessed cob, but here’s my go-to method: place the ear on a cutting board then slice off a side with a sharp knife. Rotate the ear so the flat side is now face-down on the cutting board, then continue slicing and rotating. Voila! No flying corn kernels.
The sweet corn ’round here is so sweet and tender right now that I eat it raw, but if you have a thing against raw corn, you can definitely steam the kernals for a few minutes.
Next add 1/2 cup chopped cucumber to the bowl. De-seed the cucumbers with a spoon before chopping, and be sure to peel ‘em if the skin is tough and thick. This guy came from my backyard garden and was perfect!
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes go in next.
These, too, came from my garden and are growing like tweens. They’re Sweet 100s and even Ben can’t stop popping them like Skittles. They’re soooo sweet!
Now add 1 cup blueberries. I love how the price of berries gets lower and lower as the summer continues, while the taste gets better and better. Win, win.
1/2 minced jalapeno goes in next, for a spicy contrast to the sweet corn and blueberries.
Then 3 Tablespoons fresh parsley and 1 Tablespoon fresh basil are chopped and added for a herby flavor punch.
Add the cooled quinoa to the bowl, then pour the dressing in and toss to coat every morsel in its sweet-tart lusciousness.
Serve the salad with chicken, fish, or shrimp seasoned with seafood seasoning, like I did.
Sound the dinner bell!
Fresh Corn & Blueberry Salad with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette
Adapted from BHG.com
1 cup quinoa, rinsed very well
2 cups chicken broth
3 ears corn, kernels cut from cobs
1 cup blueberries
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup cucumber, chopped small (peeled if outside is thick and tough)
3 Tablespoons chopped parsley
1 Tablespoon chopped basil
1/2 jalapeno, minced
For the dressing:
1 teaspoon lemon zest
4 Tablespoons lemon juice (about 2 lemons worth)
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon honey
salt & pepper
- Rinse quinoa very well in a fine mesh sieve under cold running water. Add to a saucepan with the chicken broth then bring the broth to a boil. Place a lid on top, lower the heat to medium-low, then cook until quinoa is tender and broth is absorbed, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely.
- For the dressing: Combine lemon zest and juice, extra virgin olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper in a jar or bowl. Shake or whisk to combine. Set aside.
- Combine corn, blueberries, tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, basil, jalapeno, and cooled quinoa in a large bowl. Pour dressing over and mix well to combine. Serve with grilled or sauteed shrimp, chicken, or fish.
I could eat plate after plate of this salad, which I suppose would defeat the purpose of a healthy meal, but seriously – almost not even caring.
The fresh lemon and honey dressing is killer with the super sweet corn, blueberries, and cherry tomatoes, while the minced jalapeno lends a fun, hint of heat. Love this salad!!
Well guys, this officially wraps up my Colorado 2K12 recaps! Sob! Thanks for coming along, and if you’ve never been, Ben and I both highly recommend. Denver’s got a killer food scene, and limitless outdoor activities are just a short drive away. What more could you ask for?
Have a great week!
Do you have a “repeat” vacation spot? Somewhere you go every year, or have gone more than once?