Quinoa stars in a summer vegetable salad

Just got back from a trip to Chile, where I was introduced to many delicious quinoa salads. It was a surprise to learn that there are hundreds of different types of quinoa. The most common are white, red and black. With these flavors in mind, I made a quick vegan salad for a summer dinner.

Quinoa is an ancient grain that originated in the mountains of Bolivia, Chile, and Peru. It is also considered a complete protein, which means that it contains all nine essential amino acids.

Quinoa needs to be cooked for 15 minutes. Start cooking first, or to shorten the time, buy frozen quinoa. It only takes 5 minutes to cook.

Helpful hints

You can use regular or multi-colored quinoa.

countdown

Put the quinoa to cook.

Prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Shopping list

To buy: 1 package of quinoa (multi-colored if available), 1 bottle of dried oregano, 1 bottle of low-fat oil with vinaigrette, 1 bottle of honey, 1 cucumber, 1 large red pepper, 1 package of cherry tomatoes, 1 bowl of black olive pits 1 sachet of spinach and 1 can of low-sodium chickpeas.

Staples: Salt and freshly ground black pepper.

quinoa salad

3/4 cup quinoa

2 cups of water

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1/2 cup low fat oil with vinegar dressing

1 tablespoon honey

1 cup diced cucumber, about 12 inches

1 cup diced red pepper, about 12 inches

1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1/2 cup pitted black olives

1 cup fresh spinach leaves

1 cup low-sodium canned chickpeas, washed and drained

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the quinoa in a colander or strainer with small holes. Rinse it off with cold water. Add quinoa, 2 cups water and oregano to a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. Remove from heat and leave for a few minutes. Fluff using a fork. Add the salad dressing and honey in a large bowl and mix together. Add the cooked quinoa and mix with the sauce. Mix the rest of the ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir well.

Get two servings.

Per serving: 515 calories (25 percent fat), 14.2 g fat (1.5 g saturated, 5.4 g monounsaturated), 4 mg cholesterol, 17.9 g protein, 83.2 g carbs, 14.2 g fiber, 413 mg sodium.

Linda Jassenheimer is the author of more than 30 cookbooks, including her latest book, The 12-Week Diabetes Cookbook. Listen to Linda at www.WDNA.org and all major podcast sites. Email it to [email protected]

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