I would say that Quinoa is new to my life… I tried it for the first time about 2 years ago at a picnic where a friend made a salad and it was just so yummie. So I asked for the recipe and tried it at home… well my first attempt at cooking quinoa failed… it was all clumpy and heavy… I would rank it with my rice cooking skills… Non-existent!
Earlier this year I had another quinoa salad a friend made and again loved it so set out to find a good recipe… and found it! I’ve never looked back and can now cook quinoa with one eye closed… think I will add that to my list of accomplishments!!!
Quinoa… how do you pronounce it? I say “keen-wah”, but have heard it pronounced as “kin-woh” or “kin-know-ah”… if my pronunciation spelling is correct! Regardless of how you pronounce it, at the end of the day quinoa is good for you, and that is just on its own… so with all the added vegetables and seeds to the salad, it is all added bonus. Why is quinoa good for you, especially for plant-based diet? Well without going into too much detail, quinoa is high in plant-based proteins and contains all nine essential amino acids.
Any variation of a quinoa salad is a regular menu for us at home, and the reason being is that its tasty, healthy and so easy to put together. I have a few favourite salads that I make, and if I don’t have all the ingredients thats ok, I just add in others… and it still taste great every time.
So how do you cook quinoa to ensure it is perfect every time.. below instructions have not failed me yet!
- Rinse 1 cup of quinoa and place it in a small pot which has a glass lid. Add a few pinches of salt and 1.5 cups of boiling water, cover with a lid and bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low-medium and simmer for 10-15 minutes* until all the water has been absorbed. To check, tilt the pot with the lid on to see if any water seeps out from the quinoa. If no water, then turn off the stove and let the quinoa continue to steam for a few minutes. Let the quinoa cool before adding to the other salad ingredients.
* You may need to cook red or black quinoa for an additional 5-10 minutes longer – keep adding boiling water if quinoa still taste grainy.
Now there are different types of quinoa but the most regular you will find in shops will be white, red or black.
Suggested ingredients when making 1 cup of quinoa:-
- 100 g baby spinach
- 1/2 large avocado, sliced
- small broccoli, cut into florets
- 1/2 cup frozen peas or mung bean sprouts
- 1 courgette
- 1 large spring onion, thinly sliced
- 10 green olives, pitted and quartered
Or why not try some of below ingredients when using the red or black quinoa, as they generally have a more nutty taste:-
- 3 cups of roasted butternut squash
- 1/3 cup of dried cranberries
- 3 tbsp of roasted pumpkin seeds
A quick and easy dressing to simply mix together would be:
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 roasted or raw garlic clove, grated finely
- salt and pepper, to taste