We are getting slammed here in the Bay Area with a heat wave.  Are you feeling the heat too?  Our thermometer read 102 in the shade on Sunday!   And the dial has been in the mid-90s the last 4 days.  Thankfully we don’t have the humidity but that is HOT in my book.

In fact, anything above the ‘perfect’ 83 degrees we normally get is too hot for our house. We have monstrous picture windows that let in the sun All. Day. Long.  With not a cloud in the sky, no insulation in the walls and no air conditioning (the houses here were built for temperate climates!), the house turns into an oven quickly and cooking is about the last thing anyone wants in the house.

So, in the summer and early fall, I lean pretty hard on fresh raw salads. They are fast and require no cooking.  For protein, I rely on some pre-cooked chicken or steak that I have stored in freezer ready for these heat waves.

Or I use quinoa as the protein source.

If you are like me, in the summer, your appetite gets smaller and you want lighter meals. You find yourself wanting less protein than in winter. But, if you are like me, you also still need more protein than an all vegetable salad offers.

Quinoa bowl salads are the perfect solution.

Quinoa is a pseudo-grain.  It’s actually a seed and is one of the few non-animal sources of a complete protein.  By complete, I mean it contains all essential amino acids that we need daily.  That makes it nice because you don’t necessarily have to add a protein to your salad.  And if you do, it can be a lesser amount than you would normally add.

Quinoa is also loaded with other important nutrients, like magnesium, iron, zinc, copper and some B vitamins.  All extremely important for balancing hormones, stress and blood sugar.

I prepare the quinoa in the morning when the temperature is still cool and put it in the fridge until dinnertime.  Then it’s all a matter of chopping vegetables and adding some homemade dressing to make your nutritious light meal.

I’ve put together 3 fun summer quinoa salads for you that emphasize 3 of the amazing fresh herbs available in the summer. — Parsley, Cilantro and Dill.  With a simple citrus vinaigrettes, these herbs really stand out. Click here to download the recipes.

I also wanted to share some exciting news!  I will be the featured chef at Taste Kitchen and Table in Fairfax, CA on Wednesday nights, starting June 28th.  That’s next week!

Taste will be open for dinner this summer on Wednesday and Thursday nights so you can take a well-deserved break from the heat, cooking and just enjoy your summer.  I will be serving healthy and delicious Paleo-Plus meals. The dishes will be mainly plant-based with an additional 2 or 3 protein and gluten-free grain dishes, like the recipes I am giving you here, that you can add if you’d like. All meals will be dairy-free and refined sugar free too.  You can mix and match as you choose.  It’s all fresh, clean and delicious!

My friend Onika Mann will be the featured chef on Thursdays and she will be serving amazing vegan dishes.

Dinner will be served from 4pm – 8pm (or until we run out). You can check out the weekly menu at Taste’s website. (The menu will be up soon.) I hope you can join us!

The 3 Quinoa Bowl Salads will make a showing here and there this summer at Taste so come check them out in person or download the recipe here and make it yourself.