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My Favourite Quinoa Salad

by Lorena

I’m a fan of using quinoa in multiple ways: cooked, crispy, in salads, as a replacement for rice, in soups… all of it! And this one is my absolute favourite quinoa salad. It has a lot of flavour, colour and it’s not at all complicated to make. I think it’s incredible on its own but it could also be served with chicken or beef for grilling season.

For this quinoa salad, you need to cook several separate components but it’s still all done pretty quickly. It’s the combination of these flavours that makes the salad work so well :). The spinach and mushrooms need to be sautéed, the cherry tomatoes are roasted and the quinoa is cooked in water. Roasted cherry tomatoes are a great way to use cherry tomatoes that start to grow a bit too old for using them fresh in salads.

For this salad to turn out great it’s important for the quinoa to be cooked to the perfect point. You definitely do not want to overcook it or let it become sticky. For it to be perfect I use a cup of quinoa and one and a quarter cup of water. With that ratio, I always get a perfect result. As a matter of fact, it’s the same ratio I use for cooking rice.


It’s important to always wash the quinoa thoroughly before cooking it. Quinoa has a component on the outside of the seeds called saponin that’s bitter and also toxic in large quantities. I wash it by running water through it on a colander with a bowl underneath. With my free hand, I move the quinoa around until the water runs clear and without foam (I control this by watching the water that falls into the bowl). Sometimes you can find quinoa that comes already washed but I still wash that one because when you do, you will notice the water still doesn’t run completely clear.


My Favourite Quinoa Salad

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Course: Main, Salads
Cuisine: Low
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 3 portions
Author: Lorena Salinas from Cravings Journal

Ingredients

For the quinoa

  • 1 cup quinoa (180g)
  • cup water (300ml)
  • zest from ½ a lime

For the confit cherry tomatoes

  • 100 g cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • Salt and pepper

For the spinach

  • 100 g baby spinach nicely washed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 garlic clove crushed

For the mushrooms

  • 200 g sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

To finish

  • 50 g almonds toasted in a preheated oven at 180°C/350°F for 5 minutes and chopped

For the dressing

  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 4 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

For the quinoa

  • Wash the quinoa thoroughly by placing it in a colander and under running water until the water runs clear.
  • Place the quinoa in a pot with the zest and water over high heat. Once it boils, reduce the heat to a minimum and put a lid on the pot. Stop the cooking process when it's dry, about 15-20 minutes later. Use a fork to mix and fluff up the quinoa.

For the cherry tomatoes

  • Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and mix them with the other ingredients.
  • Roast them in a preheated oven at 200°C for 20-30 minutes or until they're soft and starting to become golden.

For the spinach

  • Preheat the oven to high heat. Add the olive oil, garlic clove and spinach leaves. Immediately add the salt as well to keep the leaves green.
  • Mix constantly until the leaves are soft and remove them from the pan. This will take about 30 seconds.
  • Once cooled down, squeeze them to remove the excess of liquid. Chop them up with a knife and mix them with the quinoa.

For the mushrooms

  • Preheat a pan to high heat and add the olive oil and mushrooms. Leave them still to allow them to become golden. Mix them every 2 minutes to allow them to become evenly golden. Add salt and pepper.

For the dressing

  • Use a whisk to mix the mustard with the lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  • Add the olive oil in a drizzle while whisking.

To serve

  • Wait for everything to cool down before serving.
Tried this recipe?Mention @CravingsJournal or tag #RecipeCJ!

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