January 25, 2011 by Flora Dawn
Quinoa is one of those grains I had never even heard of, let alone ate, before going gluten free. For the first couple weeks I even pronounced it completely wrong. I was saying it phonetically, when in fact it is keen-wa. Oh, well.
Quinoa is an ancient grain that is super healthy and easy to prepare, in fact you make it just like you would white rice; you can even cook it in the rice cooker. It has all eight essential amino acids and is one of the best protein sources in the vegetable kingdom. It can be a bit expensive at grocery stores, but I can find it at Costco and in the bulk section of most grocery stores very reasonably priced. You can also fine quinoa flakes and flour in most health food stores. I find the flakes to be almost bitter, but once toasted they do have a nice flavor and works well in granola.
My family likes the taste of quinoa, but I know others do not. I great way to make everyone happy is to mix it with flavorful ingredients, like ginger and soy.
This Quinoa Salad is easy to prepare. We make it meatless, however cooked shrimp or chicken would also be great in it. The idea is basically combining cooked quinoa with veggies, pour on some Asian dressing and you are done. Although I like to make my own dressing, if you have a favorite Asian-style dressing, you could just lightly dress some quinoa with it for a super quick meal.
This tastes great warm, at room temperature, or even cold, making it great for a weeknight meal, with leftovers the perfect brown bag lunch the next day.
I love cilantro and think it really adds flavor to this salad, my husband disagrees and think it should be left out, we compromise and just garnish the individual salads as desired. I think sesame seeds or chopped peanuts would also be a great addition.
- about a 1 inch piece of peeled ginger
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 cups quinoa (rinsed if necessary)
- 1/4 cup canola or olive oil
- 1 tsp sesame oil, optional
- 2 TB rice wine vinegar
- 4 tsp peanut butter
- 2 tsp soy sauce (San-J makes a gf one)
- 2 tsp honey
- 2 cloves garlic minced or crushed
- 2/3-1 cup diced bell peppers
- 1/3 cup sliced green onions (white & green parts)
- about 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, optional
- I actually cook the quinoa in my rice cooker, but here are the saucepan directions: Place the whole ginger, broth, and quinoa in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil; stir, reduce heat and cover with lid. Cook for 15 minutes, let rest 5 minutes and fluff with a fork. Discard the ginger and transfer the quinoa to a large bowl to cool.
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the grated ginger, oil (and sesame oil if using), vinegar, peanut butter, soy sauce, honey, and garlic.
- Add the peppers and onions to the quinoa, pour the dressing over and stir to combine. Sprinkle with cilantro before serving if desired.