I had the pleasure of attending the just-for-fun/no occasion ODEE potluck on June 27th and, I have to say, it was inspiring! Who would have thought that the sampling of savory dishes offered by my peers would have led to a July 4th creative effort in my kitchen…involving (of all things) quinoa?! Yes…I actually took a quinoa salad to a holiday potluck, at which we were celebrating all things American. I was emboldened by my potluck encounter with a yummy quinoa concoction that included roasted Brussels sprouts, artichoke hearts (not marinated), mushrooms, and cilantro. Without a recipe, I decided to try my hand at a similar dish using an “Italian” spin. I had fresh basil, oregano and chives from my herb garden that, when blended with a balsamic vinegar dressing and some fresh grated parmesan, resulted in a delicious version of the salad I had enjoyed. I took an easy route by using frozen organic quinoa that required only a few minutes in the microwave to prepare. After chilling it, I added the roasted veggies, fresh herbs, dressing and cheese. Wow! Not bad for diving in without a recipe. Some of my friends, (the most daring party goers), even complimented me. Now I can’t wait to try the “Mexican” version one of our student workers brought in last summer using corn, black beans, and cilantro. I hope this story inspires others to try their hand at mixing quinoa with their favorite veggies and flavorful herbs to concoct a healthy alternative to the predictable potato and macaroni salads that seem to be ever present at get together.