This is a lovely light salad, and is actually balanced enough to enjoy as a main meal. I have used it in my endless quest for the round, or balanced meal, but it has inherent balance that is good too if you want to eat it on its own.
So, quinoa, we have spoken about quinoa before, widely touted as a super food a couple of years ago, it really does deserve to go into that group, but the problem with a lot of these things is that they get all this publicity about how good they are, but not a whole lot of info on how to incorporate them into the diet. That leaves people unsure of how to use them, so they either buy them and they gather dust in the pantry, leave them on the supermarket shelf or buy them already processed by somebody else, and that is going to add cost and also, quite often, things you wouldn’t add yourself.
Quinoa is a really good foil for a light salad. It adds some real bang for your buck in terms of protein, fibre and all nine essential amino acids that we need to target for our bodies to work efficiently (especially important if we are vegetarians). It has excellent levels of B group vitamins, Vitamin E, lots of minerals and a little smudge of Omega 3 fatty acids.
But anyway, how do we use it? Well, we have used it a couple of times on the Cookie House Kitchen website, but this is one of my favourite ways. Quinoa isn’t a grain, not really, it is a seed, also known as a pseudo grain. I can manage about three small serves of quinoa a week before it triggers my arthritis, which is more than I can manage of most grain alternatives!
So we are going to use it as a foil for some really gorgeous summery flavours, it doesn’t have a lot of flavour of its own, but it is a really good carrier, which makes it a perfect ingredient to boost the bulk, and the nutrition, of our salad, and the protein and fibre in it will keep you feeling fuller for longer than a plain bowl of veg will.
Okay, enough chatter, let’s get to the recipe.
Looks great, doesn’t it? Tastes great too.
Makes enough for one as a main meal, or two as a side salad.
2 tablespoons quinoa
5 tablespoons water
1/2 cup cashews
1 teaspoon linseed
1 stick celery
1/8 red onion
6 cherry tomatoes
1 small red capsicum
I loose cup shredded greens
1/2 cup blueberries
1 tablespoon vinegar (I used a live raspberry vinegar)
2 teaspoons oil (I used one teaspoon of avocado oil and one olive oil)
Toast your cashews in a small pot over a medium low heat until the have a little bit colour and crunch, add your linseeds and toast until they begin to pop, set aside in a small bowl. Pop your quinoa and water into the pot, put on a lid, set them onto the same medium low heat, bring to the boil, turn down, simmer for about five minutes, give them a stir, cook for another 3-5 minutes until they look like this -
See how the little grains are translucent (sort of see through), and how it looks like they have worms? That is good, quinoa that is not cooked through could give you a hard time in the digestive tract, that isn’t what we are about here at the Cookie House, if in doubt, add another spoonful of water and simmer for a tiny bit longer. Give it a fluff up, set it aside, lid on and let it steam while you cut up your veg.
Some people are funny about their veg (me included). If a carrot is cut in half moons or rounds I won’t eat it, don’t know why. I cut mine into matchsticks or batons and then I am fine. Anyway, cut your veg up whichever way you like it, if you are interested in what greens I had, I had some tops off my French shallots that are growing in the garden, some watercress, mint, lemon balm, chives and red sorrel, you can use baby spinach or masculin if you want to, but I do urge you to add some nice fragrant herbs, it really does lift this salad from the ordinary to the extraordinary. Tumble your veg and blueberries, yes, blueberries in a salad, they are not very sweet and they will give you a gorgeous fresh surprise, trust me, into a big bowl, add your quinoa, nuts and seeds. Combine your vinegar and oil and stir through. Serve as a single large salad or two side salads. Enjoy!