Monday, January 3, 2011

Curried Quinoa Salad

In the mood for something healthy that won't leave you starving (or groaning) when you're done? You're looking for quinoa. It is an amazing grain that is loaded with protein, easy to make, delicious and satisfying. Quinoa cooks just like rice, has a soft texture when cooked, and is neutral in flavor. The USDA National Nutrient Database says that 1 cup of cooked quinoa contains 8.14 grams of protein, 5.2 grams of dietary fiber, and a variety of other nutrients. 

It happens to be my humble opinion that people need to incorporate more vegetable-oriented meals into their diets. I am not advocating becoming a vegetarian - I love meat too much for that. Rather, my point is simply that protein doesn't need to be the main component of a meal, or necessarily take the form of meat. Quinoa is an easy, and typically palatable, starting point for those who are hardcore carnivores. 

To be perfectly honest, I stumbled upon this recipe tonight and hardly followed the original recipe. Turns out I wasn't able to wait for the quinoa to cool before I ate it, and it was delicious warm - I'm sure it's great as a cold salad, but I haven't tried it yet.

Curried Quinoa Salad
1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups water
½ tsp curry powder
pinch salt

¼ cup canola oil (or EVOO)
2 T. white wine vinegar
2 T. mango chutney, chopped if chunky
2½  tsp curry powder
1tsp prepared mustard
a sprinkle of cayenne pepper

(1 cup chopped peeled mango)
1 cup peeled and diced cucumber
1 bunch green onions, sliced

To make the quinoa, add the quinoa, curry powder, and stock base into the pot, and put over medium heat. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn, and that the stock base becomes soft, and melts into the quinoa. Once you can smell the curry, add the water and salt; give it a stir. Turn the heat to high, and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, put a lid on and turn the heat to low and set the timer for 15 minutes. This process is like cooking rice – you’re steaming the quinoa, so don’t lift the lid to peak. There may be some extra liquid at the end, but that’s ok. Just turn the heat up to medium and cook it off. (happens to me all the time)

Meanwhile, in a bowl large enough to hold all of the quinoa, add the mango chutney, vinegar, mustard, and curry powder, and whisk to combine. Whisking vigorously, add the oil slowly until the dressing is combined. When the quinoa is cooked, add it to the bowl with the dressing, and stir to combine. Add a sprinkle of cayenne and salt to taste. Let cool. Once cool, add the diced cucumber and scallions.

The quinoa is very good still warm with the cucumber and green onion on top. (Which is how I had it for dinner)

The original recipe called for adding diced mango to the salad – I didn’t try it because I couldn't find it at the store tonight. It also called for serving the quinoa on top of spinach, which I did – not great. Might be better with a yogurt dressing – like an Indian raita – over the whole salad if you use the spinach.

Adapted from on 1/3/11; available at

* Chicken stock base is a kitchen staple - you can find it in all grocery stores by the packaged stocks/broths.  The link is to the Better Than Bullion brand, which is what I use. It's great because you'll always have as much, or as little, stock as you need.

1 comment:

Scribbler said...

I just found you, courtesy of your nephew and my son! I am saving this recipe because I have been hearing about this stuff for a while, so I bought some. Since I don't really know what to do with it, I am on the lookout for recipes that use it.

I look forward to looking back through your blog at all your other posts as soon as I get the final work on my book done. I am publishing a book about my mother and her food.