Keen on Quinoa

Quinoa Salad

Here’s the thing regarding quinoa:
it is a base; it will not overwhelm you with flavor.

So you need to bring the zest, the gusto, the tang if you want the salad to sing.

The quinoa by itself is not qualified. It’s healthy. It’s lovely. It has done its job.
But the stuff you add will make people touch their fingertips to their lips and say
Mama Mia, molto bene!

[Ahem. Let’s get this tasty bit of information on the table.
It’s pronounced KEEN-wah.
It is a complete protein, gluten-free, good for you grain.]

Disclaimer: if precision is what you crave, Google a quinoa salad recipe.
This is one of those use-what-you-have recipes.

First you need cooked quinoa. Simple Simon.
1:2 ratio of quinoa to water.
Cook 15 minutes or until quinoa is translucent.

Then you add good flavors.

Onion is not optional. Unless you don’t like onion.
I’m guessing if you don’t like onion, you won’t like quinoa.
Green, red, white, or yellow: just chop it up.

Tomatoes are excellent for their acidity. And flavor.

Bell peppers add crunch, flavor and color.
Red, yellow, orange, or green.

Cucumber is sort of the introverted vegetable.
Doesn’t need the spotlight, but always adds something wonderful.
Peel, de-seed if you must, chop.

Olives are essential.
I think their saltiness completes this salad.
I prefer Kalamata (a very salty Greek olive).
But I only had black olives on hand and the salad was still superb.
Slice or chop and add.

You could add or subtract to this community group:

Artichoke hearts
Feta cheese
Hot pepper e.g. jalapeno
Roasted pumpkin seeds
Diced celery
Anything that strikes you as Mediterranean

When you have all these ingredients mixed together
you are on the verge {[vurj] -noun: the edge, rim or margin} of something spectacular.
You are close, but you are not yet there.
Naked, this salad misses the mark.

The dressing delivers the zest, the gusto, the tang.

Any oil and vinegar dressing will help, especially if you are generous with the vinegar.
If you buy salad dressing, I’d recommend Newman’s Own.

One fine day I had limes I needed to use.
I made a Lime Vinaigrette that will forever be the thing that makes Quinoa ♫ sing ♫.

I use a 1:2 ratio of lime juice to olive oil.
You can skimp on the olive oil. Make it 1:1½

In a jar add lime juice, olive oil,
a few shakes of garlic powder,
a dab of Dijon,
salt and pepper (more than a shake: perhaps ½ t)
Dress that salad, baby.

It looks inviting.
It smells fresh.
It tastes delicious.
 It will fill you up.


3 thoughts on “Keen on Quinoa

  1. The big problem with mine was actually cooking the quinoa.  It was so …. blechy and mooshy.  I think I added too much water.  I made mine with orange vinaigrette and dried cranberries and onion and mint and other things I cannot remember, but I think my quinoa proportions were the offense.Thanks for the recipe,Di

  2. Enjoying a quinoa salad for lunch today myself.  It’s actually leftover from a dinner menu from last week.  It already had chopped red and yellow peppers in it; so, to freshen it up, I added a large chopped tomato, leftover grilled summer squash, and a handful of roasted peanuts.  Then (per your suggestion) squeezed the juice of half a lime over it all and tossed. Waaay yummmm!

Comments are cinnamon on my oatmeal!

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