Easy Quinoa Vegetarian Salad

Welcome to the easiest, healthiest salad in the world.  Uh… laziest salad in the world.. Have a heap of vegetables and no time to cook?  Set some quinoa on the stove as you prepare your veggies – red peppers, red cabbage, kale and green beans.  Be encouraged to freestyle it with your veg selection – whatever you find in your CSA box.  This is a dish that comes together in minutes – keep it vegetarian, or top with some grilled chicken, or sliced pan-fried beef, and you’re set.  Make a double batch, and refrigerate leftover portions for the next day – even better.  Easy Quinoa Vegetarian Salad:

Easy Quinoa Vegetarian Salad I’m your test subject here, since I’ve been eating variations of this salad for 2 weeks straight… I’ve been blogging less this summer, which simply means that nothing fancy is happening in the kitchen and I’m busy with whatever else life throws this way.  Or I’m napping somewhere in the shade… 🙂 But no matter what, I eat well – food is not a compromise. I still prefer a simple quinoa salad over Chinese takeout, thank you very much.

Another thing I always make time for is farmer’s markets – and I mean real markets, not the ones where you look for a parking spot for 2 hours, then buy a $6 tomato.  My favorite in Calgary is DJ Market, in the industrial area just off Blackfoot trail.  No frills, fresh local and cheap – like it should be.  I just have to keep myself in check, otherwise I’ll buy so much I’ll end up with a trunkfull of produce that 2 people can’t possibly eat… Been there, done that. This salad is a product of this week’s market haul, not too shabby! All that for 35 bucks!

Farmer's Market Shopping in Calgary - CanuckCuisine.com

Anyway, back to quinoa.  You probably already know that quinoa is a fluffy whole grain that’s great in pilafs, salads, casseroles and stir fries.  It’s higher is protein and lower in carbohydrates than most grains, which means it will keep you full for a long time.  The water to quinoa cooking ratio is the same as rice – 2 parts water 1 part quinoa.  Easy peasy.

Easy Quinoa Vegetarian Salad One thing I gotta say – rinse the quinoa well before cooking to remove its bitter coating.  Its not just some fluff you read in cooking instructions.. A few swirls around a fine mesh colander will do.   I always religiously rinsed my quinoa until a trip to the coast earlier this month where I had no colander at my disposal… I figured “meh… how bad can it be if I don’t rinse?”  It’s bad.  Not worth it… or you’ll end up with no dinner and a big bowl of inedible quinoa.

PS.  I prefer my quinoa salad topped with sliced avocado, not shown in the photo.

Easy Vegetarian Quinoa Salad
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup quinoa (uncooked)
  • approx ½ lb green beans, topped and sliced into 1 inch segments
  • olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup shredded red cabbage
  • ¾ cup cooked cannellini beans
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • ½ half ripe avocado, sliced
  • black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Rinse the quinoa well, then drain and place in a medium cooking pot. Cover with 2 cups of water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the water is absorbed, about 10-12 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, steam, or boil the green beans until tender, drain and set aside.
  3. Warm up the olive oil in a medium saucepan over moderate heat. Add the chopped kale and red bell pepper, and cook until softened.
  4. In a large salad bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, steamed green beans, cooked kale and bell peppers, red cabbage, cannellini beans and cilantro. Mix to combine well.
  5. Serve topped with avocado to keep vegetarian, or optionally add a protein of your choice - chicken, fish, or beef.

 

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