xmlns:fb='http://www.facebook.com/2008/fbml' Festive Quinoa Salad

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Festive Quinoa Salad

I started eating quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wa) last year in an attempt to add some variety and 
nutrients to my diet. Two years ago I ate rice three times a day. That very restrictive diet worked for me at that time in my life when my food sensitivities were out of control.

Applying one of my favorite quotes “everything in moderation including moderation”, I replaced the rice at breakfast with fruits, later steel cut oats. I then replaced the rice at lunch with quinoa. It keeps me satiated. There are no spikes in my blood sugar in the afternoon, which means no snacking, and I'm a happy individual....until I get home at 6:30.  At which time, I eat everything in sight. Even cold leftovers straight out of the refrigerator. More a stress response than hunger.... 

Plus, so much has been written about the health benefits of quinoa I really couldn't evade it anymore. It’s packed with vitamins, nutrients and fiber and is considered a complete protein. It's also generally recommended for people with nut and gluten allergies.

I didn’t think the taste would appeal to me and without any additions it can be quite boring (which I do occasionally), however I decided that adding quinoa to my diet is the least I could do for my body. ....Actually quinoa is great with curried or stewed chicken as it soaks up all the delicious sauce.

If you've never had quinoa, I hope you put it on your list of new foods to try this year! It cooks quickly, it’s nutty, delicious, has a great texture and is so good for you….

This quinoa recipe was inspired by the dressing I used in this recipe….btw, my Hubbie who makes a fresh pot of Quinoa every other morning for me, refuses to even taste it...so good luck with adding it to your regular meal rotation for your family. He told me that one must acquire a taste for quinoa, to which I responded..."then you better acquire it soon!..."

Festive Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil--for toasting
1 ½ cups water (or organic vegetable or chicken broth)
½ cup corn
1 small tomato, seeded and diced
¼ red sweet pepper, seeded and diced (or seeded jalapeño)
2 tablespoons green sweet pepper, seeded and diced
¼ cup cubed cucumber, seeded and diced
¼ cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped parsley or scallion
2 tablespoons minced red onion
¼ cup chopped ripe or half ripe mango (when in season)-Optional

For the dressing
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (best quality)
1 clove garlic, grated
Salt, to taste (I used 1 teaspoon)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste (1/4 teaspoon)

Cook Quinoa:
Place the quinoa seeds in a fine-meshed strainer and run cold water over the quinoa while gently rubbing the seeds together in your hands. Drain thoroughly. (Rinsing quinoa is necessary to remove the saponin residue which gives it a bitter taste.)

In a small saucepan, add one teaspoon oil, add drained quinoa and toast for a few minutes. Add water, bring to a boil, cover tightly and and cook for about 15 minutes, until liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and allow it to cool.

Make dressing:
In a bowl, add lemon juice and garlic and gradually whisk in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Add corn, tomato, red pepper, cucumber, cilantro, scallion or parsley and dressing. Let it sit for a couple of minutes.

True "High Class Laziness" Story: 
My hubbie and I picked out the corn from a bag of frozen mixed veggies because we were both too lazy to go to the supermarket! In retrospect, going to the supermarket (less than a minute away) would have been easier! :-)

Make Salad:
After the quinoa has cooled, add it to the veggies and dressing and mix. Season with additional salt, lemon juice or freshly ground black pepper to taste.

I love quinoa salad with roasted cauliflower...!

Be even more inspired,
With love,

1 comment:

Sarah J Gopaul-Chan said...

I started using quinoa about a year ago and my family loves it. I use it not only in salads but in any dish as a replacement for rice. When i first started using it as a replacement for rice in my dishes I would use half rice half quinoa and then gradually I was able to learn how to work with it when cooking so instead of rice in my recipes I use quinoa. Yes!! everything in moderation, we still occasionally eat a bit of white rice and we love basmattie brown rice but we also love trying different types of quinoa and wild rice. Great recipe, i'll be sure to try it.

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