BEJEWELED QUINOA SALAD
This dish is excellent as a meal on it’s own, but what I also love is that it makes a perfect, time-saving side dish a few nights later, as it provides your 'grain' and ‘veggie’ in one shot.
So make it once,
enjoy it the whole week!
This recipe was inspired by my good friend, Sun Chaney, who served me a variation of this as a side dish next to a lovely piece of halibut. I remember thinking, I wanted to add a few more sturdy, colorful veggies and see if it would last the whole week in my fridge. And there you have it, a gluten-free, high-protein success!
PREP TIME: 20 min
COOK TIME: 20-30 min for the quinoa
SERVES: 4-5 as a main, 6-10 as a side
TO COOK THE QUINOA
1 ½ cups (270 g) dried quinoa, rinsed
1 tsp (5 ml) olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
½ tsp salt
2 ¾ cups (625 ml) water
TO ASSEMBLE THE SALAD
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
1 fresh jalapeño pepper, finely diced (seeds and flesh only, discard the stem)
½ cup (60 g) red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely minced
4 tsp (20 ml) lime juice
2 TBSP (30 ml) olive oil
½ cup (20 g) fresh mint, finely chopped
¾ tsp salt (or to taste)
1 cup (160 g) feta cheese crumbles
1-3 avocados, peeled and cut into cubes just before serving* (see Cooks Notes for portions)
COOK THE QUINOA
1) Heat a 1 ½ quart (2 litre) pot on medium. Add olive oil and garlic and sauté 30 seconds.
2) Add the rinsed quinoa, salt and water and mix well.
3) Increase heat to high, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for 5 minutes.
4) Seal your lidded pot in the Wonderbag and leave to cook for 15-30** minutes while you prep your salad ingredients.
Follow steps 1-3 above, reduce heat to low and simmer
covered for 15-30 min, or until all water is absorbed and the seeds open up and ‘curl’ a bit. Stir occasionally and add more water if the water evaporates before the quinoa is fully cooked.
When finished cooking, fluff quinoa with a fork and transfer to a non-metal bowl to cool off before mixing with the fresh salad ingredients.
ASSEMBLE THE SALAD
Mix all of the ingredients except for the avocado in a large bowl. Add the cooled quinoa, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve..
When you’re ready to serve, peel and dice your avocado.
Spoon the salad into individual bowls and top with ½ an avocado per person (or as desired –see cooks notes for portion guidance).
Recipe & Photo Credit: Cathy Menees
I cook the quinoa as above with the garlic and salt just to infuse the grain itself with a little flavor. You can of course just cook as directed on the label, it’s up to you!
** I've seen in the US that some quinoa comes rinsed and partially cooked, so the cooking instructions will call for 15 minutes on the stove. So be sure to read the label and adjust your cooking time as needed.
As a main dish, I would serve 1 ¼ cup of the prepared salad and ½ of an avocado per person.
As a side dish, well…that of course depends on whether or not you’re putting something else on the plate, so I’ll leave that up to you and your individual tastes!!
I noticed that I lost about ½ of the weight of the packet of mint when I stripped the leaves from the stems. So for planning, you want to buy about 40g of mint to end of with 20g of leaves for chopping.
Wait to cut the avocado until you are ready to serve, as it will start to turn brown if cut too far in advance. Also, avocado that has been peeled and cut doesn’t do so well after 1 day, so only cut the amount of avocado you need on the day you need it - if you mix cut avocado with the salad and then store if your fridge a few days, you will be greeted by a very soggy, soft bite of avocado that I don’t think you will find very pleasing.
I had this salad (without the avocado) in my refrigerator for 1 week and it was super – the veggies were crunchy and the feta held its shape. It was great to have on hand for lunches, snacks to stave off hunger, or a side at dinner.