I discovered quinoa a couple of years ago at an Ottolenghi restaurant in London. I was instantly baffled by this ingredient – it was so tasty, so filling and I felt ever so virtuous that it was considered a superfood. In my quest to find the perfect way to prepare a quinoa salad, I’ve come up with this recipe which has been a hit with both my Asian family and British/Australian family and friends. I was pretty chuffed when mum told me she liked the salad, she’s an incredibly tough food critic and when I heard she started making this for her friends I knew I was onto something. What I also like about this recipe is that it can be made veggie, gluten and dairy free and it is delicious.
This salad is fabulous at a BBQ in summer or for a home meal this goes really well with baked salmon or grilled halloumi. What I like about this is it kills two birds with one stone, you don’t need additional potatoes or some form of carbohydrate with your salad as the quinoa is this magical ingredient that is both protein and carbohydrate.
1 cup uncooked quinoa (white)
I cube of chicken stock (vegetarian stock cube for the vegetarian option)
I bag mixed salad leaves
1 packed cup of parsley and coriander
3 tablespoons of Asian fried onions to sprinkle on top (optional)
2 tablespoons cashew nuts to sprinkle on top
1 punnet vine ripened cherry/plum tomatoes – chopped into halves
1/2 a large cucumber cut into slices and then quartered
2 tablespoons thai chilli sweet sauce
1 tablespoon soya sauce, or tamari if you are gluten free
Juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon mirin
- Soak the quinoa for 15 minutes and then rinse thoroughly through a sift well. This is an important step. The skin of the quinoa has a kind of chemical that is bitter and also it can cause a reaction and cause allergies if not cleaned properly for those that are ultra sensitive.
- You can cook quinoa the traditional way over the stove but I’ve discovered a secret way of cooking it very effectively – cook it like rice in a rice cooker with the appropriate amount of water on your rice cooker measurer and add the chicken/veg stock cube at the same time to cook.
- Whilst the quinoa is cooking, prepare the salad – add the salad leaves, chopped tomatoes, cucumber and herbs.
- To prepare the sauce, mix all the ingredients together. If you prefer the recipe to have more saucy flavour, you can double the recipe.
- Once the quinoa is cooked, cool it down to room temperature.
- Now add the quinoa to the salad mixture and toss in the sauce. Once done add the nuts and fried onions to the top.
- You can now serve this dish with salmon, grilled halloumi or on its own
The good news about this salad is that it keeps well in the fridge and can be made the day before. Just add the cashew nuts and onions just before serving. Leftovers are also great for a packed lunch.