Quinoa Goes to a Party

Quinoa is the star of this dish, packed with the power of a whole crowd of superfoods… rock on!

We’re going to a party, and I offered to bring along something for the table. The request: a quinoa salad. “Quin-wha?” I asked.

“It’s the latest super-food,” my host told me. “An ancient grain. Full of minerals, lots of protein, and a good source of folic acid for all those pregnant mothers-to-be out there.”

I had no problems finding quinoa at our local bulk barn. Armed with a recipe from my increasingly health-conscious sister, I set to work. Quinoa salad, deconstructed, includes (besides quinoa of course), these ingredients:

  • baby spinach –  iron and folate
  • toasted pumpkin seeds –  vitamins E and B plus fiber
  • grape tomatoes – vitamin C  and potassium
  • sweet yellow pepper –  vitamin C
  • beans –  fiber, iron, and folate
  • garlic – cancer fighters
  • olive oil – vitamin E

How healthy is that! But would it taste any good? I sampled the quinoa after it had been cooked in some boiling water for the prescribed amount of time. Carnivore that I am, I wasn’t very impressed. Pretty blah, I thought. It did have a nice chewy feel in the mouth, though. Perhaps it showed promise.

I soldiered on, chopping the veggies, toasting the seeds, and whipping up the dressing. I was a little taken aback by the large amount of olive oil the recipe called for. But I threw it all in, anyway. It was a humungous dish of food, and after all, we need some monosaturated fats every day to keep our engines oiled, don’t we?

I called my sister to make sure I could add the dressing ahead of the party start-time. Was this the kind of salad that tastes better the next day? Or does it just get too soggy for words after a long sit? Happily, she assured me that this is a make-ahead salad, perfect for parties, so I added the dressing and tossed furiously.

Now for the big question… would it pass Vinny’s flavor test? I got out my spoon and took a large mouthful. The vinaigrette was perfect! It added just the right amount of bling to the other ingredients to create a taste sensation. It even pulled dowdy old quinoa out of its doldrums. Rock on, Quinoa – your salad is DELICious!

Try it for yourself. The recipe makes enough to fill your largest salad bowl, about 3.5  litres or 14 cups of salad.

Quinoa, dressed for the party… rock on!

Quintessential quinoa party salad

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
  • 2 1/2 cups salted water
Bring the water to boil, add the quinoa, and simmer for 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Set aside to cool.
  • 2 small cans of kidney beans or chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 sweet yellow pepper, chopped
  • 6 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped or grated
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp brown sugar (or 3-5 drops liquid stevia)
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • some salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
Putting it all together
  • Combine the quinoa with the salad ingredients. Drizzle with the dressing 1/3 cup at a time and gently toss. If you need more flavor punch, try adding 4 ounces of feta cheese or a drizzle of lemon juice, and adjust the salt and pepper to taste. Party on, dude!

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14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. pagingdoctorme
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 12:36:02

    Eating right ~ it’s where it all starts. Awesome article. Thanks for the like in PagingDoctorMe.com


  2. wineonmymind
    Apr 02, 2012 @ 11:17:24

    Love the post! Sounds delicious- I have been on the fence about trying this new super food but just may have to try this recipe! Thanks and thanks for the like on my blog!


  3. Tiffany (lifewithblondie)
    Mar 29, 2012 @ 11:03:30

    I think I’ll have to give it a try… if I can ever find quinoa. The small town drawback- nothing good at the grocery store!


  4. Dana
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 22:08:06

    This looks great! I wrote about quinoa over on my site a few weeks ago. It really is a super food, as well as being a superfood.


  5. writelane
    Mar 20, 2012 @ 05:45:57

    Thanks for stopping by my blog Cindy’s Recipes and Writings.
    This salad looks delicious!


  6. Mr. Man
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 14:18:21

    I am def going to try it!


  7. ieatthepeach
    Mar 15, 2012 @ 17:53:55

    I love quinoa! This looks like a terrific salad, especially with the mustard and sugar in the dressing.


  8. {Santies Sunnyside Up}
    Mar 14, 2012 @ 08:41:37

    Oh my! I don’t eat quinoa often, but this salad looks delish and super healthy! I love the colorful veggies. This is definitely going to be a recipe we try in our house soon!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog – hope to see you around there again! Cheers!


  9. mylunchanddinner
    Mar 13, 2012 @ 20:46:27

    Looks quite interesting… I’ll have to check what the quinoa word is in spanish to try it! Thanks for visiting my blog today!


  10. beverleysmith36
    Mar 13, 2012 @ 04:43:13

    It looks good


  11. Pasta Princess
    Mar 12, 2012 @ 21:40:41

    This sounds wonderful! Great to see so many healthy recipes!


  12. apronheadlilly
    Mar 12, 2012 @ 21:20:45

    Sounds yummy!!!


  13. thekitchenchaotic
    Mar 12, 2012 @ 20:13:06

    This looks so lovely. The different colors are beautiful and I’ve been looking to try quinoa too!


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