Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Recipe: Quinoa salad with cucumber, red pepper & fresh herbs

Having eaten quinoa a couple of times in restaurants, we finally bought a packet home for our kitchen experiments. When I made my slow-roasted leg of lamb, I thought of serving a quinoa salad as a side dish - I had a brief idea of what I wanted in my salad - cucumbers and mint, so I googled and found this recipe on BBC Food which fitted the bill.

Quinoa salad with cucumber, red pepper and herbs

Quinoa is a complete protein, containing all eight of the essential amino acids. It has also been recognised by the United Nations as a supercrop for its health benefits: packed with dietary fibre, phosphorus, magnesium and iron plus it is also gluten-free and easy to digest.

A few important things to remember when cooking quinoa- it is important to rinse it under running water for several minutes in a fine-mesh strainer to remove the bitter coating (saponins) on the quinoa. For every cup of quinoa, you need to add 2 cups of water to cook. Once cooked, it is important to drain it well, then pour it back into the pan, cover and leave to stand for 10-15 minutes helps dry it out and fluff up.

After mixing all the ingredients and dressing it with olive oil and lemon juice, I thought the salad looked great - vibrant and appetizing. And for the taste test.... hurray it passed with flying colours! We loved it, the salad tasted light and refreshing and went well with the slow-roasted leg of lamb. My parents, who were quinoa virgins, also gave this a big thumbs up. :) Not only is this delicious, it is super healthy too - definitely something I would not mind having on a regular basis.

Quinoa salad with cucumber, red pepper and herbs
Recipe by Baby Sumo, adapted from here
Preparation time: 15-20 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves 6-8

200g quinoa
A handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1/2 red pepper, finely diced
1 Japanese cucumber, finely diced
2 shallots, finely diced
3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3/4 lemon, juice only
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Place quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse under tap water for 2-3 minutes.

2. Add rinsed quinoa and 400g water to a saucepan and bring to the boil then lower to medium heat. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until the quinoa becomes translucent and the white germ forms a visible spiral on the exterior of the quinoa grain.

3. Drain well using a fine-mesh strainer, then return the quinoa to pot and cover, letting it fluff up for 10-15 minutes.

4. Mix together the quinoa, herbs and vegetables in a bowl and dress with olive oil and lemon juice. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Note: For every 1 cup uncooked quinoa, it will yield 3 cups cooked quinoa. Herbs used are harvested from my herb garden :)

I am linking this to the Little Thumbs up "Lemon" event organised by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen from My Little Favourite DIY, hosted by Grace from Life can be Simple. You can link your posts here.

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  1. I like quinoa a lot, but my husband and kids are not so into it... Hope to include it in my daily cooking more so they will get used to it (they have no choice! :D). This salad looks delicious!

  2. love, love, love quinoa! and this salad looks so delicious. it would definitely make my day! =)

  3. I too have not tried quinoa before although have read so many good reviews about it...I should give it a try too! No home grown herbs for me though, only very hot chilli!

  4. I plan to eat quinoa at home and will start with your recipe first :D

  5. I don't know but i'm not really a huge fan of Quinoa, don't quite like the odd texture lol, i paid Aud 8 for a plate when i was in Aus but couldn't manage to finish it and had to leave it there >_<

  6. I really like the texture of quinoa, this recipe looks perfect!

  7. Yen, this salad is so colourful and pretty looking! Sure makes it look very tasty which I am sure it is! I still have a packet of quinoa in my pantry and I hope it has not expired yet hah...hah....

  8. I love quinoa and this salad is totally my kind of food.

  9. Hi Yen,

    Your quinoa salad looks good! It is a nice healthy option! Thumbs up!!!

    I like quinoa too but my husband and son don't. Not choice! Can't eat these at home as family food... Hmmmm.... Sad, isn't it?



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