Thursday, 18 February 2016

Summer Quinoa Salad

On warm Summer evenings at our place, a light and nutritious salad is much more welcome than a rich, hot meal.  This particular salad is a simple joy that's very easy to prepare, incorporates lots of healthy veggies and tastes delicious! 

A healthy and delicious salad.

I don't tend to measure too accurately when I make this salad. I just remember that for every cup of quinoa, I need double that amount of water to cook it in. So, if I am using one cup of quinoa, I will need two cups of water. 

Fluffy quinoa is a great base to build a salad on.

Then I just chop up a variety of whatever roasting vegetables I have to use up. I always use pumpkin because it's my favourite and I always incorporate nuts of some kind, whether it be chopped or slivered almonds, cashews or pine nuts. 

Colourful, roasted vegetables and nuts to add to the quinoa.

Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad

1 cup rinsed and drained quinoa
2 cups filtered water
3 - 4 cups chopped roasting vegetables (e.g. pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot, potato etc.)
glug of olive oil
1 head broccoli chopped into florets
1/2 cup frozen peas
handful of chopped nuts (e.g. almonds, cashews) or whole pine nuts, lightly toasted

1. Rinse and drain the uncooked quinoa before putting into a saucepan and covering with filtered water. (This step is very important as the quinoa may taste bitter if not rinsed.)

2. Bring to boil then reduce to a simmer. Cover but keep an eye on it as the quinoa cooks and absorbs the water. Remove from the heat when water is absorbed and quinoa is tender (about 15mins). Leave for 10mins with the lid on before transferring to a serving bowl. Cool.

3. Toss roasting veggies in olive oil and bake in moderate oven while quinoa is cooling. 

4. Lightly steam broccoli florets until bright green and just tender. Rinse in cold water to prevent further cooking after removing from heat.

5. Cook peas in water from base of the steamer until tender. Drain.

6. Fluff up cooked quinoa with a fork before tossing through roasted veggies, broccoli, peas and lightly toasted nuts. 

Usually, the only dressing I use with this salad is a good squeeze of lemon, a little olive oil and a seasoning of salt and pepper. Alternatively, you could use a favourite dressing from another salad that you love. You could also add some snipped herbs such as chives or parsley from your garden. Sometimes, if I have it, I mix through some crumbled, herby feta.

I recommend making extra too so there are leftovers for lunch the following day. Yum!


p.s. Another favourite salad that I make using quinoa comes from the very healthy chef, Janella Purcell. The recipe for her Cannellini, Pomegranate and Quinoa Salad is here on her website. I never have pomegranate though so I just use finely chopped dried cranberries instead and it still tastes great!

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