Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Asian-Style Vegetarian Quinoa Salad...

I will never tire of quinoa! I find myself reaching for this high-protein super grain over rice these days-- so healthy and versatile. There are countless ways to use quinoa, and my favourite is as a salad. My son's school anniversary party requested every parent to contribute a dish from their heritage. I had a big batch of prepared quinoa frozen in a tupperware and I thought how super it was to make it into a dish with an Asian-flair and to give me more freezer space again. With some thinly sliced Asian veggies and a salty-sweet-tart douse of sesame-soy vinaigrette, my quinoa salad was a hit at the party table with families of all backgrounds!

Asian-Style Vegetarian Quinoa Salad
Makes 10-12 servings (Half recipe to serve 4-6)

2 cups quinoa
1 carrot, peeled, and cut into strips (1-1/2")
2 handfuls snow peas, peeled, cooked and sliced into thin strips on an angle
1 bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips (1-1/2')-- I ended up not using pepper in the salad
2 green onions, sliced on an angle into thin strips
8 cups mixed greens
1/2 cup rice vinegar
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
ground black pepper to taste

Dissolve sugar in vinegar, and mix with remaining vinaigrette ingredients. Adjust flavouring to desired taste. Set aside.

Prepare quinoa according to package directions and fluff when ready with a fork. Let cool slightly. Blanch snow peas by bring a small pot of water to a boil, placing peas to cook for 30 seconds, and removing the peas into a basin of cold water to cool and retain its colour and crunch! Cut and slice your vegetables into thin strips.

Place the greens into the serving vessel (in which case, mine was a foil container), toss with 1/3 of dressing. Place quinoa in a separate large bowl along with the cut vegetables and toss with remainder of dressing. Layer the quinoa mixture over the salad greens.

Pretty and a lovely flavour combo. of sesame, soy and rice vinegar, and crunch with a nod to Asia.

With so many flavours you can impart to nutritious high-protein, high-mineral quinoa, try some of my other family favourites with a cultural spin and hope one or more will be a winner with yours:

Mexican Quinoa with Cilantro and Pepitas-- If you love cilantro, give this tasty quinoa recipe with the addition of healthy pumpkin seeds a try with a Mexican flair!

Mexican Quinoa with Cilantro and Pepitas

Greek Dill Quinoa Salad-- A large fresh bed of both romaine and mixed greens topped with textured nutty grains of quinoa and a medley of crunchy colourful vegetables dressed with garlicky lemony dill.

Greek Dill Quinoa Salad

Black Bean Cumin Quinoa Salad-- my sister's famous quinoa recipe with loads of crunchy purple cabbage, veggies, and black beans with a predominant earthy cumin flavour for a nod to Mexico. 

Black Bean Cumin Quinoa Salad

Tabbouleh Salad with Quinoa-- I absolutely love the Lebanese dish tabbouleh- a tapestry of a kitchen garden, with its aromas, its colours, its different textures and intermingling of multi-layered tastes. Instead of using traditional bulgur cracked wheat, which is nuttier, granular and grainy in texture, I am using quinoa as a substitute to give a wonderful twist to this delicious salad- a great way to enjoy a familiar favourite with another healthy grain!

Tabbouleh Salad with Quinoa

Simple Cranberry Quinoa Salad-- This recipe was contributed by my sweet niece in Montreal. Kathia has always been interested in cooking and cooking healthily. I love the sweet cranberries in this simple quinoa salad with cucumber and coloured bell pepper. 

Simple Cranberry Quinoa Salad

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