There are dozen ways to make a wonderful Quinoa Salad, all exciting and all healthy and delicious, and all gluten-free. Quinoa is the grain I use most often in salads, even in Tabouleh
I am going with a decidedly Sephardi Quinoa Salad, with our beloved Moroccan Seasonings. It comes out incredibly fragrant.
You can very easily turn this quinoa salad: Scroll down for Main Course Variations!
I find quinoa the perfect grain and most calorie-effective: just one cup raw quinoa grows and grows, and cooks up to be more than 5 cups cooked and fluffed quinoa. Simple math informs me that measure for measure, quinoa – in quinoa salad and all quinoa dishes – is a nutrition bargain. Raw quinoa is 170 calories for 1/4 cup: 170 calories for almost 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa. Pretty amazing, no? Thought so!
If you want quinoa to be your friend and do your bidding, here are two very simple secrets you need to know:
- Rinse it in cold running water in a strainer, until the water runs clear. Rinsing it rids it of the saponin farmers spray on it to keep bugs away. Some brands quinoa clearly list their quinoa as pre-rinsed. in this case skip the rinsing step.
Quinoa cooks better and grows better if you start out with cold water
1 cup quinoa, thoroughly rinsed until the water runs clear
2 cups cold water
1 large carrot, finely shredded (use a food processor)
2/3 cup golden raisins
2/3 cup mint leaves, minced
1 bunch flat parsley, stems and leaves, minced
1 small red onion, minced
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds (use seeds if you can't have nuts)
1/2 cup olive oil
Juice and zest of 2 lemons
2-3 tablespoons orange flower water
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 -3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the quinoa and cold water in a sauce pan, and cook on a medium flame about 15 minutes. You will see small white points shooting out of the grain kernels. Fluff the quinoa with a fork. uncover and let cool slightly.
Place quinoa and all salad ingredients, except almonds, in a bowl.
Mix all dressing ingredients and pour over the salad, mixing well. Add the nuts just before serving. If you think you won't be using all the salad in one seating, save what you will eat later without nuts, so they don't lose their crunch. You will add nuts to your leftover salad on the day you serve it
This quinoa salad will make 8 ample first course servings; 4 to 6 servings if you serve it as a complete main course, with diced chicken, smoked turkey, or salmon. It keeps perfectly for a good couple days.