I love cooking with quinoa for so many reasons.
From a health stand point quinoa is a potent seed loaded with nutrients; fiber, iron and magnesium. It’s also one of the most protein- filled foods you can eat containing all nine essential amino acids. That means you’ll actually eat less, feel fuller longer and reap substantial energy rewards.
Now, from a cooking standpoint quinoa is a really versatile food. It can be a nice accompaniment to any meal, served hot or cold. It’s also great to use in stir-fry dishes (think of it as your rice substitute, or starch substitute). I’ve even made vegetable patties and breakfast patties using quinoa. Lots to do with this little ol’ seed, with a little creativity.
This dish, however, is all about zest. I seasoned it with things I always have on hand: parsley, lemon and garlic. Together they provide incredible cleansing and digestive benefits. I try to work them into any food/dressing/marinade.. as much as possible.
To get started on this quinoa salad, you’ll need 1 cup of dry quinoa. Measure out the dry seeds, then give the seeds a quick rinse under some cold water. I usually put them in a colander and rinse for a few seconds. This will remove an bitter taste that’s often found on the outer coating of the seeds.
Next, add your rinsed quinoa to 2 cups of water in a saucepan on the stove. The ratio is always 2:1. I measured out 2 cups of water to 1 cup of quinoa.
Bring the quinoa to a boil on high heat then cover it with a lid and let it simmer on low heat until all of the water is absorbed by the seeds and the quinoa is tender. This takes anywhere from 15-20 minutes. (You may need to drain off any additional liquid if the seeds are tender, but there’s still a little water in the pan.)
While the quinoa is cooking, chop up the additional salad ingredients:
Quinoa Salad Ingredients:
1/2 cup bell pepper (1 small bell pepper)
1/2 cup onion
1/2 cup parsley
1 cup cooked quinoa
Now, move on to the salad dressing. In a small bowl mix these ingredients together EXCEPT for the lemon zest. You’ll add that at the very end, directly over the quinoa.
Salad Dressing Ingredients:
3 tbsp. extra virgin, cold pressed olive oil
4 tbsp. lemon juice (or 1 medium sized lemon)
1 tsp. grade b maple syrup
pink himalayan sea salt (season to taste)
1 small garlic clove, minced
the zest of one lemon (added at the end)
After the quinoa has cooled, transfer it to a bowl and add the the bell pepper, onion and parsley and toss lightly. Then pour the salad dressing evenly over the quinoa.
Lastly, take one lemon and grate the outer skin directly onto the quinoa. Just grate the lemon until you see white, then give it a turn, continue this process until you’ve grated the entire skin. This is where the magic happens. Lots of bursting flavor found in the skin of a lemon.
Give the quinoa one final stir to mix in the lemon zest. You can either eat it right away or pop it in the fridge for 30 minutes or so, and let it chill. I love a cold quinoa salad and usually go for the latter, but either is great.
And there you have it! A healthy, filling quinoa salad that you can serve as lunch or as a side dish with dinner! Enjoy!