Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Quinoa Salad with Peas, Carrots & Kale

I developed this simple quinoa salad with vegetables to add protein, nutrition and interest to my teenage daughter's vegetarian lunchbox. It seems like quinoa is everywhere, so I was surprised that none of her friends knew what it was.

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a seed that, when cooked, softens and fluffs while maintaining a slightly crunchy texture.  It contains a lot of protein and other nutrients, and is gluten-free. If you follow the package directions and cook it in water, it has a slightly nutty taste, but is pretty bland.  The secret for any savory use of quinoa is to cook it in vegetable broth, instead of water, which adds all the flavor you'll need. Be sure to rinse the seeds off before cooking (they can have a bitter-tasting coating) and "fluff" the cooked seeds when all the liquid has simmered away.

The above salad was made with tricolored quinoa and I simply boiled the vegetables separately in salty water. Once cooked, I cooled the vegetables under cold water and added them to the cooked quinoa with a little citrus-champagne vinegar. No need to add any oil to cooked quinoa.

For a quick and simple dish, this salad is surprisingly filling!  Don't hesitate to mix the vegetables up or add some chopped tofu, nuts, or herbs. Enjoy!


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