Crunchy & Delicious Quinoa Salad

As you know from my last post, my love affair with quinoa began when life threw a curveball at me and my health years back and I’ve loved creating different dishes with it over the years.

I’d never ventured into a ‘health shop’ before I found out I was gluten and lactose intolerant. All I knew is that I felt lost and was desperate so would try anything. On the day of my diagnosis, I remember going up and down every aisle of a shop that was recommended to me and coming home with a bag full of vitamins and supplements, protein powders and ingredients I’d never even heard of, let alone knew how to pronounce.

A guy we were working with at the time clearly sensed my distress so kindly ventured out to the supermarket and insisted on making me dinner that night. He’d found some gluten free pasta and tossed it with a tomato based sauce. I will never forget this meal. The thought was there and I will cherish that forever, but there and then I knew that my eating habits would have to change forever. The bowl of mush was so far from the pasta I knew and I quickly decided to embrace the vast world of ingredients available instead of trying to recreate my old eating habits, minus the gluten and dairy.

I’d never heard of what I called “ki-no-ah” at the time, but thought I’d give it a go. Once I’d figured out it’s proper name, it was love at first taste.

It’s such a diverse ingredient that’s packed with protein, tastes delicious, is readily available and equally nutritious. Hot or cold, sweet or savoury, main or side, there’s a reason this grain has found fame over the past few years.

Whether it’s a hot summer’s day and you’re after a refreshing bowl of goodness or a cool winter’s evening and you’re craving something nourishing, this quinoa salad bowl should be your new go-to.

It’s hearty and full of crunch. It’s nutty and fruity, packed with delicious flavours and it’s quick to rustle up.

Serves 2 as a main.

You will need:

  • About 200g Quinoa, cooked & cooled. (I use a mix of white & red but feel free to use whatever you prefer)
  • 1 Small head of broccoli
  • 1 Carrot, Grated
  • 1 Spring Onion
  • 2 Small Radishes
  • 1 Stick Celery
  • 1/2 Pomegranate, seeds removed
  • 1 Small Handful Raw Almonds
  • 1/2 Cucumber
  • 1 Small Handful Green Beans
  • 1 Handful Flat Leaf Parsley
  • 1 Orange
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Red Pepper Flakes (optional)

Directions:

Start by cooking your quinoa and give yourself enough time to allow it to cool to room temperature (or chill in the fridge if you’re short on time).

Using a medium to large salad bowl, take the broccoli head over the bowl and begin shaving florets with a knife. Turn the head until you’ve shaved thin slices off and are left with just the stalk. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the outer layers off the stalk until you reach a light green shade. Continue shaving this into the salad – this is sweet and delicious!

Grate your carrot and add this into the bowl. Slice the celery, radishes, beans and cucumber and add them. Toss this with the quinoa, and add your spring onion, sliced almonds and pomegranate seeds.

In a small bowl, mug or jug, pour about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the juice of the orange (allowing any pulp to fall in for extra flavor if you’d like) and season generously with salt and pepper. Stir until thickened. Add in a teaspoon of red pepper flakes (more if you like a kick or omit if you prefer without spice) and stir.

Pour this dressing over the salad and toss until combined. Finish with a sprinkling of chopped parsley and enjoy!

This will last in the fridge for a couple of days and will become even more delicious as the juices distribute so it’s a great make ahead meal or one to prepare in batches for the week.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

L, xo

I made this one without carrots first, but preferred it with the addition of the extra colour and sweetness!

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