QUINOA SALADS

Quinoa is a very versatile base for a salad, tastes great, good texture and goes with anything that you want to add to it. It is also very good for you, and can be frozen after cooking – I haven’t tried it yet but I am guessing that if the cooked quinoa is made with nuts and dried fruit it can be frozen and dressing added once it is defrosted. An almost instant meal or side dish.

The quinoa seed is high in protein, calcium and iron, a relatively good source of vitamin E and several of the B vitamins. It contains an almost perfect balance of all eight essential amino acids needed for tissue development in humans. It is exceptionally high in lysine, cystine and methionine-amino acids typically low in other grains. It is a good complement for legumes, which are often low in methionine and cystine. The protein in quinoa is considered to be a complete protein due to the presence of all 8 essential amino acids.

from http://www.quinoasalads.com/

This website is well worth visiting. It just reinforces the idea that you can do anything with this ingredient.

There are two versions of this salad, tomato and cucumber or nuts and fruit. They both start off the same but the dressing for the nuts and seeds is more Middle Eastern, however either one can be made with any ingredients. I think roasted pumpkin would go really well with the nuts and seeds instead of the fruit and it will be on my agenda to try with some of my home grown pumpkin. The addition of some blue cheese is also tempting.

Tomato and Cucumber Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa – see cooking instructions below
  • 2 tomatoes – chopped
  • 1 cucumber – Peel, chop and sprinkle with a little salt. Leave in colander for about 15 minutes to allow the liquid to drain off, then rinse before adding to the salad.
  • 4 mushrooms sliced  (optional)
  • 1 capsicum – red or green (optional), chopped
  • 2 stalks celery (optional), chopped
  • 1 chopped red onion (optional but soaked if using – see later)
  • mint, parsley, coriander

Dressing

Make a dressing to your liking using any combination of one lime or lemon juice or vinegar or balsamic vinegar, 1 tspn sugar, salt, 3 tbspns olive oil, 1/2tsp minced garlic. make it in a screw top jar and shake to combine.

Method

Chop all the vegetables,  add the onion / mushroom mix to the dressing and leave to infuse. (This is the dressing for the whole salad but the onions and mushrooms are marinated in it to tone the onions down and so the mushrooms and sultanas will absorb the flavour.)

Stir all ingredients together when the quinoa has cooled.

Nut, Fruit and Seed Quinoa Salad

Quinoa with fruit and seeds

Quinoa with fruit and seeds

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa – see cooking instructions below
  • Use any combination of the following – if there isn’t enough when assembling you can easily add more.
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 2 tbs sunflower seeds
  • 1 tbs sesame seeds
  • any other nuts eg pistachio, almonds, hazelnuts etc chopped
  • dried fruit – total cup of sultanas, apricots, cranberries, dried apples etc, all finely sliced
  • 1 tsp each coriander, cumin, paprika
  • Fresh fruit – chopped apple, grapes,
  • Chopped mint, parsley, coriander or any combination

Dressing

Make the dressing described above adding 1tsp each of cummin, coriander and paprika

Method

Quinoa salad ingredients - whatever sounds good at the time

Quinoa salad ingredients – whatever sounds good at the time

If using sultanas or raisins add to the dressing mix to give them time to swell up and absorb the flavours.

Toast the nuts and seeds lightly in the fry pan and remove from heat and set aside.

Stir all ingredients together when the quinoa has cooled.

Nut, Fruit and Pumpkin Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa – see cooking instructions below
  • 1/2 cup finely sliced dates
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sultanas
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1/4 pumpkin, chopped and roasted
  • 1/2 cup chopped mint
  • 1/2 bunch of spring onions sliced

Dressing

  • Juice and rind of 11/2 limes or 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp olive or rice bran oil
  • 1 tsp each coriander, cummin, paprika and salt (to taste)
  • Put in a jar and shake to combine

Method

Soak the cranberries and sultanas in the dressing until ready to combine all the ingredients.
Stir all ingredients together when the quinoa has cooled and serve.

Cooking the Quinoa

Rinse one cup of quinoa in a fine sieve for about 30 seconds. This washes off the remains of the not so nice outer coating. Bring to boil in three cups of salted water and simmer for about 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and leave it to sit for another 5 minutes. Grains are cooked when they are translucent and you can see a little white tail in each grain.

Drain in the sieve and spread out on a baking sheet to cool and dry a little. The quinoa can be frozen at this stage. It can also be dry roasted before cooking to give a toasted flavour and you can add stock or orange juice to the cooking water.

One cup of quinoa grains makes about 3 cups of cooked quinoa. This is a serious amount of food if you are using the tomato, cucumber version of the recipe, but with the fruit and nuts version it is more about the quinoa so the three cups is ok for about 6. It does keep quite well so as long as you are prepared to eat it for the next few days then make the full cup.

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