Quinoa and Rice Summer Salad

I offered to make a side dish for my friend Lauren’s bbq, and I did not want to make a tradition potato, pasta or egg salad. Quite frankly, I do not like egg salad nor am I a big fan of traditional potato salad (too much mayonnaise). I’m always experimenting in the kitchen, and after deciding I wanted to make a rice and quinoa salad (I made a cumin scented quinoa and black rice salad for my graduation party that turned out great) I made up this recipe. I knew I wanted something light and tasty. Using rice as the main ingredient is a nice departure from the traditional bbq salads, and much lighter too.
Summer is the perfect time for a cool salad. This one is simple to prepare and the ingredients give it a refreshing, cooling and satisfying taste. The flavors mix very nicely together to give this dish great flavor. Often times many summer salads are loaded with mayonnaise and this one is not, also making it a much healthier choice.
Ingredients
2 cups brown rice
2 cups quinoa
1 cup cherries, pitted and sliced
1 medium cucumber, diced
 cup walnuts
3 Tablespoons Lime Juice
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
½ cup chopped parsley
2 teaspoons onion powder
salt (optional) and pepper to taste
1.     The quinoa and rice can be made ahead of time and refrigerated. Cook, separately, according to the package directions. To give a little extra flavor use vegetable stock in place of water to cook the quinoa, or use half water and half stock.
2.     Rinse cherries and remove stems. Cut around the pit into slices.
3.     In a large bowl, combine the cucumber, walnuts, rice and quinoa. Mix well.
4.     Add in the parsley, onion powder and paper (and salt if using).
5.     Add in the lime and lemon juices, one tablespoon at a time and mix well in between each one.
6.     Add cherries in last, right before serving or else it could turn the dish red from the juices.
7.     Serve chilled or at room temperature.
I also think adding mint – or replacing the parsley with it – would also make a delicious dish. Next time I am going to try it this way! 
Before the Cherries were added
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