Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Quinoa Salad

Sept. 2010 015 Have you ever eaten quinoa, the wonder-food that dates back 5,000 years to the Incas?  It’s never been a pantry staple in our household, but after reading more about its nutritional benefits and cooking with it, it’s going to be a regular in our diets. It’s not a grain per se, but rather a seed from a broad-leaf plant that’s in the same botanical family as beets and spinach.

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It’s kind of a “pseudograin” in the way that buckwheat and amaranth are. Unlike rice or wheat, or other grains that have to be eaten with legumes in order to complete the protein chain, quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is a complete protein all by itself. It’s easy to digest as well and takes only minutes to prepare and it’s great for people who are gluten intolerant too.

Most people say it has a nutty taste, but I think it’s kind of mild and it takes on the flavors of whatever you combine with it.  It has an outer coating called saponin that’s supposed to have a bitter taste, but most commercially sold quinoa already has the saponin removed. If you’re not sure, you can soak it. I  rinsed it a few times before using it. You can cook it in water, but I prefer to use chicken broth to give it more flavor.

I was inspired to make this salad after seeing a couple of recipes for quinoa on Mary’s blog, “One Perfect Bite.” You can find those recipes by clicking here and here.

Mary’s recipes were starting points for me, but I just used ingredients I already had in the house, namely avocados, chickpeas and tomatoes. The chickpeas add even more protein to the dish, giving you another reason not to reach for those chops and steaks. Make sure you squeeze the lime on top at the end. It really makes the dish sing. You can eat this warm, at room temperature or straight out of the fridge, making it perfect to pack in a small container for lunch. 

Sept. 2010 014

Quinoa Salad

Printable Recipe here

1 cup quinoa

2 cups chicken broth

salt, pepper to taste

1/2 cup chopped tomatoes

1/2 large carrot, shredded

1 avocado, diced

1 15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/4 cup chopped parsley

2 T. olive oil

juice of one lime

more salt and pepper if necessary

Soak the quinoa in a pot of cold water for an hour in order to get rid of the bitter taste. (I was in a hurry and didn’t do this, but instead rinsed it three times in a colander. It worked fine.) Bring the chicken broth to a boil and add the quinoa, salt and pepper. Reduce the heat, cover the pot with a lid and let it cook on low heat for about 15 minutes. Remove the cover and fluff up the quinoa with a fork.

Let it cool slightly, then mix it in a bowl with the remaining ingredients. Taste it to see if it needs more seasoning.

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24 comments:

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

What a healthy and delicious salad! I've seen that our farmers grow quinoa...

Cheers,

Rosa

♥The Sweet Life♥ said...

Hi!! Such a wonderful blog!! I added you to my blogroll, I would follow but I don't see a follow button. I hope you have a great day!

Recipe for Delicious said...

That looks great! A friends served me a wonderful quinoa salad a few weeks ago and I've been thinking about it ever since. I might try it tonight with roasted butternut squash.

Reen said...

As a Weight Watcher at goal, I am ALWAYS looking for new and delicious recipes! This one looks like it would definitely spark my taste buds! Can't wait to try it.

Daniela said...

Ottima ricetta, eccellente presentazione. Ciao Daniela.

♥peachkins♥ said...

very interesting recipe...




The Peach Kitchen
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Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

We love quinoa and I often use it in place of rice when I stuff peppers or squash. I've also mixed it with couscous with good results when making a curry dish.

Lori Lynn said...

Looks great Linda - I especially like the addition of creamy avocado as a contrast to the quinoa.
LL

Claudia said...

Quinoa is becoming a staple here. I also made Mary's recipes and have been using quinoa for over a year. I am loving the chickpeas in this - especially as I use quinoa for a meatless meal. Of course, creamy avocado offsets the slight crunch of the quinoa... it's works on all levels.

Cathy said...

I love the addition of chickpeas and avocado to this yummy salad. And what a bonus that it's so good for us.

Joanne said...

That looks so good.
Quinoa is a "wonder grain". It is LOADED with nutrition. Unfortunately, it's not one of our favorties. I keep trying different recipes but neither my hubs nor I can take to it.
I did a salad very similar which was in fact called Quinoa Salad but used a blend of Millet and Bob's Red Mill Grande Grains. It turned out pretty good.

Proud Italian Cook said...

I love quinoa and all the healthy benefits it has, It tastes like a carb but is full of protein. I don't make it enough as I should either. Time to change that!

Jen_from_NJ said...

I have been experimenting a lot with quinoa lately and I just love it. Your salad looks just perfect! I like the avocado in there.

Bridgett said...

Perfectly healthy and has every flavor I love in here.

Marcellina said...

Your salad looks delicious! I have seen quinoa in our shops but I will keep on the look out. I would love to try it!

Laurie said...

I've only tried quinoa once, but this looks so fabulous I'm going to give it another try. I loved the info and photo of the plant!

Mary said...

You've created a gorgeous dish that's easily the equal of the two of mine you mentioned. Thanks for the link. I do appreciate it. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

joe@italyville said...

I think you should try out for that "Master Chef" show Linda.... easy win.

Anonymous said...

I love quinoa, and regularly OD on it! I make a "southwest" version by tossing cooled, cooked quinoa with red and orange pepper, corn, minced jalapeno, black beans, and sweet onion. I season the olive oil based vinaigrette with chipotle chili powder, garlic, cumin, cayenne, and lime juice. Delish! Deni

~Dana said...

This is just what I've been looking for! Thank you!

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

I love this! Quinoa is my new fav...
Come join the linky party :-)

Barbara GF said...

Quinoa and I are very good friends, Linda. I love making salads like this. It's so satisfying, and you know you're eating something good for you. I like your addition of avocado.

Barbara GF said...

Quinoa and I are good friends, Linda. I love eating salads like this. It's so satisfying and you know you're eating something good for you. I like your addition of avocado.

M. said...

great salad!
love quinoa, it's so nutritious!