Introducing Simple Quinoa Salad, otherwise know as my “life saver salad”. It is easy to make when I’m short on time and it uses up whatever I have on hand in the fridge. This little grain is a staple in my diet for so many reasons.
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is considered to be a “whole grain” but it is actually the seed of a plant that is a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach. Unlike more common grains such as wheat, quinoa is gluten-free and can be enjoyed by people with digestive disorders, like celiac disease. Quinoa is a complete protein, which means that it contains all the amino acids necessary for our nutritional needs. Complete proteins are rare in the plant world, making quinoa an excellent food for vegetarians and vegans, or for anyone looking for a healthy protein source. It’s also high in iron and calcium, and is a good source of manganese, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, as well as fiber.
Now I know what you’re thinking: there is no way this stuff could actually taste good – but I assure you, it is delicious. When cooked, quinoa is light, fluffy and subtly flavored. The best part is that it is so versatile. It can be mixed with sweet things like fruit for breakfast, or savory foods for lunch and dinner. If you aren’t yet convinced, I recommend you try it for yourself.
Simple Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup dried quinoa
An array of seasonal vegetables:
- sugar snap peas
A lovely legume:
- black beans
A selection of fresh herbs:
2-4 Tbsp. Cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil
Zest and juice of 1 un-waxed organic lemon
1 clove garlic
pinch of sea salt
Place ingredients in a jar and shake. If you have extra, you can use this dressing for a few days, just keep it refrigerated.
1. Rinse quinoa very well in the pot you are cooking it in, draining it with a strainer. Add 2 cups fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until cooked.
2. While the quinoa is simmering, make the dressing by zesting and juicing the lemon, mincing the garlic and combining all ingredients in a jar and shaking. Set aside to allow flavors to marinate.
3. Chop the raw vegetables and herbs you are using. Place in a large bowl.
4. Once the quinoa is cooked you can add it directly to the mixed vegetables and add the legumes.
5. Place a generous amount of the quinoa mixture over a bed of fresh spinach and drizzle with dressing.
This salad is rather large, but it can keep for at least a day or so in the fridge. I hope that this delicious and simple recipe comes to your tummy’s rescue, and feel free to change things up to suit your preferences. Every time I make this it is a little different, so be creative and have fun with it.
*Special thanks to my sister Jenny for the photo session – you can catch more of her work at jjnorris.com