Cary, NC — In the summertime, I’m always looking for chilled, light lunches. This quinoa salad makes for a sweet, tangy summer lunch that is also packed with protein.
A lot of people joke about quinoa–most often, what is it and how do you pronounce it?
If you are, in fact, a quinoa newbie, it’s pronounced keen-wah.
There are tons of things you can do with quinoa, as it’s cooked and served much like rice. It tastes good plain as a grain to accompany meat or vegetable dishes, but you can also look up thousands of recipes that give it a twist (like this one). I’ve even seen it served as a dessert.
I discovered quinoa (and this recipe) in a babysitting job years ago. I cared for a seven year-old girl who absolutely loved it, and, since it is so healthy, her mom made it frequently.
The sweetness, tang and variety of colors in this recipe make it fun and tasty to kids and adults alike. Even better, quinoa also provides all nine essential amino acids, so it’s a complete grain.
How to Cook Quinoa
Quinoa is easy to prepare. Like rice, it looks small when dry and puffs out when it is cooked.
The ratio to cook quinoa is 1 cup uncooked quinoa to 2 cups water. Combine the water and quinoa in a medium saucepan and bring it to a boil. Then, reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer until tender (about 15-20 minutes). Fluff with a fork.
That makes three cups of cooked quinoa–so, if you try this recipe, you’ll be able to experiment with the one cup that is leftover.
Recipe – Sweet & Tangy Quinoa Salad
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Prep time: 10 minutes
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1 tsp. agave nectar or honey
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup currants
- 1/4 cup chopped raw almonds
- 1/2 cup diced carrots
- 1/4 cup chopped mint
- 1/4 cup chopped scallions
- Mix the first 5 ingredients in a bowl; set aside.
- Add the other ingredients together in a larger bowl.
- Mix in the dressing, and it’s ready!
You can eat this warm, room temperature or straight out of the fridge. I like to eat it over a bed of fresh spinach or kale leaves–it’s good, trust me! I find this quinoa salad to be a creative alternative to salad dressings, big veggies, croutons or other salad toppers.
Recipe and photo by Jessica Patrick.