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Quinoa Pilaf Salad Cups and Vacation in the Gorgeous State of Colorado (Part 2)

Inspiration is the thing!  And after a wonderful, relaxing one-week vacation in the jaw-dropping state of Colorado, that is exactly what I have….  Yes, inspiration!!!  That is exactly why I am serving these Quinoa Pilaf Salad Cups today– so fresh, delicious, and healthy!!!  This dish is typically prepeared as a warm salad, but it can also be served either at room temperature or chilled.  It is in fact a combination of  two dishes in one:  a quinoa pilaf, with a fresh salad served in cabbage/lettuce cups.  How cool is that?!!  No, I did not eat quinoa pilaf salad cups in Colorado, but I would say that Colorado’s healthy life-style inspired me to create this quinoa pilaf salad.

Quinoa Pilaf Salad Cups -- A refreshing, healthy, and delicious salad served in lettuce cups!!!!

Outdoor activities is what Colorado has plenty of to offer.  Hiking, skiing, climbing, bicycling, horse riding, running, water activities, etc… You name it!!!  It is not for nothing that Colorado is considered the most fit state in the US.

My children particularly enjoyed riding ponies right before we visited the Rocky Mountain National Park…

Rocky Mountains, Colorado

I loved climbing the mountain trails in Rocky Mountain National Park– nothing too extreme, but enough to get some exercise, while marveling at all the natural beauty that Colorado has to offer….  I especially enjoyed contemplating the handiwork of God, who is the greatest artist of all.  I felt as though I were reading God’s love letter to mankind– it was like hearing Him say: I created all of this for you because I love you!

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

This was a feeling that occurred over and over all throughout my trip, including when we headed to Steamboat Springs, where waterfalls and other natural features amazed us time and time again…

Waterfalls in Steam Boat Springs, Colorado

Steam Boat Springs, Colorado

We also had lots of fun riding up to the top of a high hill on a chairlift, and then zooming down the alpine slide on a roller-sled… a favorite of both adults and kids!!

Steam Boat Springs, Colorado, USA

As if that weren’t enough, we also watched a mesmerizing show: The Steamboat Springs Hot Air Balloon Rodeo.

Hot Air Balloon Festival in Steamboat Springs, Colorado by FromBrazilToYou.Org

Hot Air Ballon Festival in Steam Boat Springs, Colorado

Hot Air Ballon Festival in Steam Boat Springs, Colorado.

I was particularly amazed at how one of the contestants dipped the basket of his balloon into the lake… Not just briefly, but the whole way across the lake’s surface!

Hot Air Ballon Festival in Steam Boat Springs, Colorado.

Wow, wow, wow!!!!!!!!  Those were the exact words that came out of my mouth… and I still say the same thing whenever I see these pictures that remind me of our week of one-of-a-kind adventures in the stunning state of Colorado.

I hope that my tasty and healthy quinoa pilaf salad cups amaze you as well.


Quinoa Pilaf Salad Cups -- A warm yet fresh, healthy, and delicious salad!!!!

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Quinoa Pilaf Salad Cups
A super healthy, nutritious, and delicious salad that is a complete meal...
Votes: 0
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Course Salads
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Course Salads
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
Rate this recipe!
  1. Note: To toast the cashew nuts, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350º F (180º C) oven for about 5-6 minutes or until lightly toasted. Cool completely before roughly chopping.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until soft (about 2 minutes), stirring nearly constantly in order to not let brown. Add the carrots and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the quinoa and cook, stirring constantly, until coated with oil, about 1 minute. Add the wine and cook until all of the liquid has evaporated. Add the broth or water, the salt, pepper, and cumin, and give a good stir. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and let cook for 12 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed all the water. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, cover, and let stand for 15 minutes.
  3. Then add the jalapeño, toasted cashew nuts, mint, cilantro or parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, lime zest and juice to the quinoa pilaf, tossing well. Season with more salt and pepper if necessary. Spoon quinoa pilaf salad into each cabbage/lettuce leaf and serve. The quinoa pilaf salad can be served warm, at room temperature, or cold!!! It is up to you....


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An Extra Picture for You… Tchau!!!!

Rocky Mountains, Colorado


27 Responses to Quinoa Pilaf Salad Cups and Vacation in the Gorgeous State of Colorado (Part 2)

  1. Ash- foodfashionparty July 29, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

    Wow, Denise you guys sure had some colorful fun. I am in love with the pictures. You’ve given me ideas for our next vacation, maybe after the next..We are leaving to Disney, and can’t wait for all the fun.
    Your pilaf is a plateful of health and taste..Both the pics and the food did make me say Wow..xx

    • Denise Browning July 29, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

      Thanks so much, Ash! I do highly recommend Colorado for vacations. Have fun at Disney!

  2. [email protected] is How I Cook July 29, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

    Denise, you reminded me that I should see more of my state more often! Great photos and great salad.

    • Denise Browning July 29, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

      Abbe: You should return there. I returned home wishing to live there.

  3. SallyBR July 29, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    Fantastic collection of photos, shocking colors, amazing time you’ve had!

    the recipe is the icing on the cake… love it too!

  4. Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes July 29, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

    One day I will visit Colorado. Your pics make want to go even more! The cashews with jalapeños and mint are such a nice surprise in the quinoa salad. Gorgeous Denise!

    • Denise Browning July 29, 2013 at 5:37 pm #

      Thanks, Paula! Colorado is an enchanting place. I highly recommend everyone to visit it.

  5. Deb July 30, 2013 at 10:54 am #

    Adore the hot air ballon photos with such vibrant color! I see the vivid color inspiration in the scrumptious Quinoa Salad Cups, an enticing recipe!

  6. Liz July 30, 2013 at 11:04 am #

    Welcome home! We grew up vacationing in Colorado every year…and Bill and are are planning to get back again soon. Looks like you had a blast.

    Your quinoa salad looks amazing. I need to get a big bowl of this parked in my fridge to eat for lunch! YUM!

    • Denise Browning July 30, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

      I hope you return to the enchanting state of Colorado, Liz! What a place…

  7. Juliana July 30, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

    Oh Denise…awesome pictures…your girls are adorable…
    Thanks for the quinoa recipe, looks delicious and packed with flavor.
    Tenha uma otima semana minha querida 😀

  8. Purabi Naha | Cosmopolitan Currymania July 31, 2013 at 4:35 am #

    You have a lovely family. I loved the pictures of your daughters enjoying themselves in the park. Riding ponies is something which thrills kids: same with mine! Those balloons look so colourful! This quinoa salad looks delicious, Denise. I have a few quinoa recipes. I am going to add this in my wishlist!

    • Denise Browning July 31, 2013 at 8:01 am #

      Thanks, Purabi! My husband and I love this salad because is refreshing, delicious, and complete meal by itself.

  9. Kiran @ July 31, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

    I love everything about this quinoa and pretty curious about the added cooking wine. Must try soon 🙂

    Beautiful photos and glad you and the family enjoyed a great vacation!

  10. Sugar et al August 1, 2013 at 5:21 am #

    I am almost transported to Colorado after reading your beautiful description. What a delicious inspiration to take away from your visit. Love the salad cups and fantastic photography too!

  11. Mi Vida en un Dulce August 1, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

    Denise, what a great trip, it’s good to know you enjoyed it.
    And trhe quinoa looks so good.

  12. Daniela August 3, 2013 at 11:09 am #

    What a wonderful trip Denise!
    Everyone looks so happy and relaxed ,you can see from the pictures that you had a great time 🙂
    I love everything with Quinua in it, it tatstes wonderful and is healthy too.

  13. Julia | August 3, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

    Beautiful pilaf! Gorgeous photos of Colorado! This is where I live right now! Where exactly did you visit in CO? I think you mentioned Steamboat Springs?

    • Denise Browning August 3, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

      I visited Estes Park and Steamboat Springs, Julia! I loved Colorado.

  14. nusrat2010 August 7, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

    I almost had a heart attak seeing all those marvelously colorful and mesmerizing pictures! Thanks a bunch for sharing your magic moments from the heavenly holiday 🙂
    And the Quinona Pilaf took my breath away. Will try it ASAP.

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