Every day I pack the same stuff in the lunch boxes for the kids, without fail a sandwich that I know they will eat (leaving the crusts), a couple of yoghurts, some fruit and if I've been baking them maybe a lunch box friendly cake or bar and the next day I do the same - it's like ground hog day. So this year I'm mixing it up a bit and they are helping with preparing their own lunch boxes sometimes. For this week's Cooking with Kids A to Z we're making a Simple Lunchbox Quinoa Salad that can be prepared the night before and my kids actually tried it.
I've only recently discovered Quinoa and really the first few times I tried cooking with it it was a bit bland and I wasn't impressed, but I'd also had similar experiences with rice, couscous and pearl barley so I decided to use some of my favourite techniques to make them a little more flavoursome and adapted it slightly for what I knew my kids would like and we ended up with a healthy tasty lunch box salad - which as I said they tried didn't eat all of it but it did get a "I'd like this is a small amount with my dinner" (so result!)
Ingredients for Simple Lunchbox Quinoa Salad
60g of Quinoa
180ml of water
1 vegetable stock cube
1 drop lemon essential oil
1 drop lime essential oil
The essential oils can be swapped with some lemon and lime juice but you need to adjust your level of water accordingly. We have used these items in the salad as they are favoured by my kids but you could use anything, I like it with grilled chicken.
I love this Sistema Klip It Salad To Go Container [affiliate link] as it gives me a little dressing pot as well. So I add a little extra flavour with a quick dressing.
Pinch of Dried Oregano
Salt and Pepper to taste
Simple Lunchbox Quinoa Salad
Quinoa needs to be rinsed before cooking, so the kids first weighed out the amount of quinoa - weighing out is great to get them to practice number skills, with my youngest we look for a certain number that I know she will recognise like 5 or 4 and then my eldest finishes off the weighing to get the correct number.
Once it's weighed we use a sieve and rinse it under running water.
Then place in a saucepan and add the water.
On the hob it will need 20 minutes in total, first bring to the boil add the stock cube and the essential oils and then simmer for the remaining time or until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water.
Cut up your salad
To make the dressing if you want - pour the balsamic vinegar into the pot. Add the olive oil, some Salt and Pepper to taste. Pinch of oregano and shake the dressing.
Add the quinoa to the lunchbox and place in the fridge for a quick and simple lunchbox quinoa salad that the kids can make at their lunch tables in school or you at your desk.