Quinoa Salad

When quinoa first became “the thing” to eat, and a superfood, my family and I were as usual, unconvinced.

But then we tried it, a few different ways.

Now the first time I made it, it was a long and slow process learning how to cook it, how long to boil, what flavours it needed and how to make the vegies the right way to go with it.

As my skills have matured and I have become more experienced in cooking quinoa, I’ve realised just how easy it is; given you have the right stuff in your pantry.

The base I use for my quinoa is based mainly in Middle Eastern spices. I cook my quinoa like this purely because it adds taste and means that you only need a little dressing on your final salad.

Also the salads I make with quinoa are usually partially cooked salads e.g. roasting or sautéing is involved.

To make your quinoa

Rule of thumb 1 cup quinoa=2cups water

If you like you final product fluffy and light cook it uncovered and use a little less water and only add water if necessary.

If you want something that sticks together and seems a little more starchy or stew like add a little more water and cook it covered

The base:

  • Ground cumin
  • Ground cardamom
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Chill Flakes (if you want a little heat)
  • Garlic
  • Pepper
  • Herbs
  • Salt or a stock cube

Procedure:

  1. Oil, garlic and sauté
  2. Add your herbs and spices
  3. Add quinoa and water and cook according to the type of final product you want
  4. Add salt/stock cube
  5. Boil until desired consistency is reached

 

See? Pretty easy! Right…..?

Salad

I like to roast or saute certain vegies with my quinoa and have certain vegies raw.

Adding chickpeas or beans is also a great way of making the salad more filling and interesting

My favourite raw veg includes:

  • Baby spinach/rocket and/or your favourite mixed leaves
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Carrot (depends on how I feel on the day, but if it’s raw I like long thing strands e.g. a julienne or a coarse grate)
  • Mushrooms (again depends, raw mushrooms are great but roasted or lightly sautéed mushrooms can be even better)

Cooked/Roasted Veg:

  • Eggplant
  • Mushroom (see note above)
  • Sweet Potato
  • Pumpkin
  • Carrot (see note above, chunky if it’s being cooked)
  • Zucchini
  • Capsicum (usually a very light roast or sauté to preserve some of that crunchiness)

 

Any combination of these usually works.

When roasting I coat the veg in small quantities of the herbs and spices used as the base for the quinoa

When sautéing I keep it simple and let the veg keep their flavour, user your favourite oil, and some salt and pepper does the trick

Putting it all together

IF YOU LIKE YOUR LEAVES CRISP PUT THEM IN AT THE VERY END

Mix quinoa, raw and cooked vegies together and add a sweet-ish dressing, e.g balsamic or honey mustard

Add leaves if you want them crunchy

YOUR MEAL IS READY 😀 (and hopefully delicious)

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