One of the most familiar ways to eat Quinoa is in a salad. Most people find that they can make a batch of any Quinoa Salad and it will last in the fridge for two days. So when you go grazing in the kitchen, it is a great food item to have ready to eat. Since I made my first Quinoa salad in 2007 things have come on a long way. My how things have changed! Instead of getting strange looks from people I am having round for dinner, I now get a critique on how good my Quinoa salad dish is.
I admit that I am exaggerating here. But most people have eaten Quinoa now and know what it is. The next step is to persuade people to actually cook with Quinoa and try out some recipes of their own. The good thing is that Quinoa is very versatile in the kitchen and there is very little that can go wrong.
First Prepare Your Quinoa
Before you can make up your delicious salad you need to pre boil your Quinoa. You need to boil one cup of Quinoa up with 2 cups of water. But do not heart search about this too much. As long as it doesn’t boil dry your Quinoa will absorb all the liquid over ten to twelve minutes. I prefer not to cook my Quinoa for longer than this as I like it to have a crunchy feel to my salad. If you cook Quinoa for too long then it can go a bit soft and mushy. Once your Quinoa is cooked and ready, put it to one side to cool down for an hour.
Prepare Your Salad Ingredients
You can put almost anything into a Quinoa salad but do not overdo it. Some people over complicate things and end up with too many tastes. I tend to limit myself to three or four ingredients in addition to the Quinoa itself. My favourites include peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, peas, sweetcorn, spring onion, kidney beans, lentils, haricot beans and chick peas. I also like to mix red and white Quinoa together as the salad base just because it makes it look so colourful and appetising. Chop up you chosen ingredients and mix them in with the Quinoa you have cooled. Once you have mixed everything together you can mix your Quinoa salad dressing and pour that over your dish.
This is where the clever bit comes in. It is best to match the dressing ingredients with the Quinoa salad mix you have prepared. Having said that I find that Extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar goes with almost everything. All you do is add a few tablespoon of each ingredient to your salad and toss everything together. Make sure that all the salad is covered by the salad dressing. The second simple Quinoa salad dressing is freshly squeezed lemon juice and chopped basil leaves. I always have fresh basil growing in my kitchen as it is very versatile. I suggest you do the same. Squeeze two lemons and add up to fifteen chopped basil leaves to it. Then add to the salad as before.
The third Quinoa salad dressing is freshly squeezed lemons with grated ginger. This is very sharp and tangy and will liven up any salad mix you have prepared. The fourth Quinoa salad dressing is slightly different. This is a sweet dressing with pouring honey and freshly squeezed orange juice. The amounts depend on your taste buds. You can use these to sweeten up peppers that are not as sweet as they should be. You can also use it with fresh fruits for a dessert Quinoa salad. Most of the berry family will work with this dressing as well as grapes and chopped apples or pears. I tend to just mix up whatever I feel like at the time, but then I am a bit ‘gung ho’ like that. You need confidence to do that.
The final Quinoa Salad Dressing Recipe is slightly heavier and needs to be used with a bit more care. You need to roast some cumin seeds for two or three minutes and then add some chilli powder and freshly chopped garlic cloves. Some people just add curry powder instead but I like to use the fresh herbs and spices. This dressing is ideal for legumes and vegetables. It makes a great contrast to the lighter ingredients you might be having on your plate.