Saturday, 28 May 2011

Red quinoa salad.

During the retreat last week, we were not fed any foods containing gluten.  I'm not sure if that was for religious reasons or because one of the guests had a gluten allergy, but either way, I felt really good while I was at the retreat, and really enjoyed the food, so I resolved that when I returned home I would try to incorporate a larger variety of grains other than rice and wheat into my diet.  I also want to try to eat even more vegetables.

So with this in mind, I had some red quinoa in my cupboard which I've been trying to come up with a use for for some time.  I looked through some recipes on the web (and figured out how to cook the quinoa, which it turns out is cooked exactly like rice, with the same ratio - 2:1 - of water to grains, and can be cooked in a rice cooker) and came up with one that looked great.  It also incorporated legumes, so I figured it was probably pretty close to a perfect recipe from a health standpoint, and it looked delicious!

Here are the ingredients I used for the salad:

  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked with two cups of water
  • 1 19 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cubed
For the dressing, I combined:
  • Juice of two limes
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (can be done with just lime juice, my limes just didn't produce enough juice to give me the 4-5 tablespoons required for the recipe)
  • a few pinches of salt
  • 1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup cilantro (I used freeze-dried, which is substituted 1:1 for fresh)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
Once you have cooked the quinoa, let it cool for about five minutes (or longer if you wish), but in the meantime whisk together the dressing ingredients in a large bowl.  When the quinoa has cooled a bit, transfer it into the bowl with the dressing, and toss.  Then add all of the vegetables and combine well.  The "real" recipe calls for 1/2 a teaspoon of ground cumin instead of the ground mustard and turmeric that I used, but I had already committed to making the recipe when I discovered I didn't have any cumin, so I improvised and it turned out great.  Tim and I had it at lunch and he really enjoyed it as well.  Quinoa is a great grain to use with a tangy and/or flavourful sauce.  I had smelled the sauce prior to adding the salad ingredients to it and I must say, I didn't anticipate that it was going to taste very good, but somehow everything combined in a way that is extremely pleasing to the palate.  I definitely predict there will be more quinoa salads in my future, particularly now that I have taught myself how to cook the quinoa!


  1. Thanks for the recipe - I love quinoa too, but we don't eat it enough. I just wanted to say that I finally tried your salad dressing - it's runnier than expected, but tastes surprisingly good and it's probably much better for me than my sugar-filled french style dressing.

  2. i know - i totally forgot to warn you about how liquid-y it is, but it's funny, you just get used to it. i think it must be because it actually has a surprisingly high water-content?... definitely healthier than any of the store-bought ones i've ever come across.

    i'm going to make a hulled barley salad this weekend for us to eat throughout the week. it will more or less be the same idea as this red quinoa one. tim's super-excited because he loves barley. i'm super-excited because i love whole-grain salads. it's a win-win situation! how are the screenings going?