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Quinoa Salad

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. image 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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This Post Has 24 Comments
  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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.

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