Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Quinoa Salad

I was surprised that I liked Quinoa. It looks like it would be squishy or chewy or just weird in some way. It’s not. Well, it is a little bit but not enough to put me off.
What is Quinoa, you ask?
It is a tasty little seed that can be cooked like a grain. It is exceptionally healthy (a “super food”, apparently). Go ahead, Google it. It is very informative.
The fun part about Quinoa is that you sound really cool when you pronounce it.
It’s pronounced keen-wah.
 You know, “Of course Daaaaahling, we’re taking the yacht out for a spin tonight. Would you like to tag along for dinner? The chef is preparing Keen- waaaaah.” (Everyone talks like that, right?)
Anyway, Quinoa is very simple to prepare. The ratio, according to most sites, is 1 cup of quinoa to 1 ½ cups liquid. I had read on one site that you can use a little less water if you want fluffier quinoa. I ended up using just less than the 1:1.5 ratio and it was perfect.

Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa (dry)
1 1/2 cup water (I didn’t use a full ½ cup)
1/4 cup finely chopped carrot
1/4 cup finely chopped cucumber
1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped orange pepper
2 Tbsp finely chopped radish
2 Tbsp finely chopped onion
1/4 to 1/2 cup Italian Salad Dressing (I used Calorie-Wise from Kraft)
Cook quinoa in water (as you would rice) for about 20 minutes. (My method – place quinoa in water over medium high heat. Bring to barely a simmer. Cover and simmer over LOW heat for 15 – 20 minutes. Check after 15 minutes to see how close it is to being done. )
When quinoa is cooked, place in bowl and let cool. (I placed mine in the fridge for 15 minutes, stirring often, to speed this process.)

Ooooh, pretty colors!

Add chopped vegetables to the cooled quinoa and gently stir in salad dressing. Refrigerate at least an hour to let flavour soak in. (I made mine for dinner and then brought the remainder to work the next day and it was still good. The dressing had soaked in almost completely but I did not need to add more.)
 It is surprisingly simple to prepare. And, of course, you can add whichever vegetables to this salad that you like. Oh, and while I think of it, it seems that quinoa can be a little expensive to purchase in some grocery stores. I found a great deal at our local health food store (KC Health & Gifts) where you can buy it bulk for fairly cheap and you can get as much or as little as you need. Just a thought...

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