Quinoa salad with goat cheese, radishes, squash and basil oil

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Let's talk about my favorite work week lunch. Or my favorite summer dinner with a bottle of a dry, berry-ish rosé.

It's hard to beat a raw and simple quinoa salad when you're trying to beat the heat. The creaminess of both the goat cheese and uncooked yellow squash balances the sharp, vegetal bite of both the radishes and basil oil. Quinoa makes for a perfect vessel to chomp on some crisp veggies with the added benefit of getting a touch of protein.

If you're of the I-need-meat-to-count-something-as-a-meal school, this is also a pretty killer side dish poached or seared fish or alongside a store-bought rotisserie chicken.

All in, you're looking at a 30-minutes-or-less dish that won't leave you hating yourself or hungry.

Serves 4 as a main dish or 6 as a side.

What you need

2 yellow squash

8 small radishes

1 cup edamame beans (+1 tbsp water to steam)

I cup quinoa (+2 cups water to cook)

3.5 oz goat cheese

Salt, to taste

Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

2 large basil leaves (optional)

For the basil oil: (optional)

8 large basil leaves

1/4 olive oil

How to do it

If you're making the basil oil, you'll want to start there.

Place olive oil and basil in a small sauté pan over low heat. Cook the basil in the olive oil for about 25 minutes before removing from the heat and straining the oil into a small bowl or squeeze bottle to serve.

Once the basil oil is on the stove, begin the quinoa. In a small sauce pan, add quinoa, water and a hearty pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer, and simmer with a lid (or cover with foil) on for 18-20, or until all the water has been absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork to release some of the steam.

While the quinoa cooks, simply slice the squash and radishes into very thin rounds. Chiffonade (or cut into thin ribbons) fresh basil, if using.

Steam edamame in the microwave by placing beans in a microwave-safe bowl with 1 tbsp of water and covering with plastic wrap and cooking on high heat for 2-3 minutes.

To finish, toss squash, radishes, edamame, quinoa and fresh basil. Top with scoops of goat cheese and drizzle generously with basil oil. A few cracks of black pepper and a generous pinch of salt will round out the rest of the flavors.

This meal can be eaten warm or chilled. Store extra salad in a tightly-sealed container or with plastic wrap in the fridge for up to a week. This is a fabulous work-week lunch or a light dinner with friends - especially paired with a bottle of tart and berry-ish rosé.