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Monday, 1 May 2017

Quinoa Summer Salad

Summers are great time for social gatherings and parties. Fun food and frolic with family and friends make it wanting for one and all. But then what about the after party guilt , weight watchers and health freaks go through ?? Over indulgence of sweets and festive food during a social gathering is common and most of the time unavoidable specially for a foodie. One easy option to avoid oneself from overeating during a party is to eat some healthy and filling just before the gathering . And what if it is a refreshing Quinoa Summer Salad  :)

Quinoa salad is a colorful , light and refreshing summer salad . A simple yet flavorful preparation in which cooked quinoa is tossed with red onions, colored bell peppers , and summer veggies like cucumber and tomatoes. Fresh mint leaves and lime dressing make it so refreshing and just perfect for the summer season. Quinoa salad is easy and can be made ahead of time as it tastes great when served chilled. Serve it as a side dish or dig into it for a light and refreshing mid time snack on a lazy summer afternoon.  This  gluten free, oil free nutritious salad loaded with healthy goodness of quinoa and vegetables is even perfect to start a day day with.

 Before we move towards the recipe , for those who are new to this super food , let me give a brief intro about Quinoa. Quinoa is one among the world's most popular health foods. A gluten-free high-protein, high-fiber and low-fat grain , quinoa is one of the few plant foods that contain all nine essential amino acids. It is also high in magnesium , B- vitamins, iron, potassium , calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E and various beneficial antioxidants. Click here to know more about the health benefits of quinoa. 

Quinoa pronounced as kinwa or kinuwa is a flowering plant in the amaranth family. It is a herbaceous annual plant grown as grain crop for its edible seeds. Quinoa cooks easily and fast to give a light fluffy texture with slightly nutty flavor . It is versatile and can be used as replacement to rice .

Preparation Time : 5 minutes
Cooking time : 15 minutes
Servings : 2-3

  • 1 cup organic Quinoa
  • 1 small cucumber / Zucchini 
  • 1 tomato 
  • 1 small colored bell pepper ( i have used yellow)
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper powder
  • Handful of fresh mint leaves
  • Salt to taste
  1. Place 1 cup quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly under cold running water to remove the bitterness.  Drain and keep aside. Heat 2 cups water in a sauce pan . ( Ratio is 2 cup water to 1 cup raw quinoa) Add drained quinoa to it with a dash of salt and bring to a rolling boil. 

  2. Reduce to a simmer , cover and cook for about 10-12 minutes or until the quinoa turns tender and all the water gets absorbed. Let the sauce pan remain covered for 5 minutes after putting off the flame.

  3. On cooking the quinoa turns slightly translucent and we can see tiny spirals / germ ( appear like small tails) coming out from the quinoa seed . Fluff it gently with a fork and allow to cool down at room temperature.

  4. While quinoa is getting cooked, chop the veggies. Wash and peel the cucumber.  Discard seeds and chop into dice. Finely chop the red onion. Also discard the seeds of tomato and bell pepper and dice them.

 5. To a mixing bowl add the cooked quinoa and chopped veggies. 

  6. Throw in fresh mint leaves and squeeze out lemon juice. Season with black pepper powder and little salt and toss.

  7. Delicious healthy and refreshing quinoa summer salad is ready to serve. You can allow the salad to sit in the refrigerator for couple of hours before serving. 

  • You can use vegetable broth to cook the quinoa instead of water to add in to the nutrition.
  • Sweet corn , pomegranate seeds , cherry tomatoes , beans , sprouts can be used in this salad for variation and taste. Options are endless and the recipe adapts well with any combination of fruits and veggies.
  • Olive oil can be drizzled in this salad. I haven't used.
For more refreshing salad recipes, do check my posts on