Green Queen Recipes: 3 Easy Quinoa Salads

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5 Mins Read

In this day and age, many of us can get so caught up in our busy lives that we are constantly chasing our tails trying to get through our long to-do lists- it feels like there is no time to do important things like cook. But study after study shows that people who eat home-cooked food are leaner and healthier. Since we all wish we had more time, we thought we’d make your life that little bit easier by sharing three simple and fast lunch ideas, all made with quinoa, which if you cook in bulk on a Sunday night, makes weekday morning prep a breeze. That way, at least three days a week, you are nourishing your body with a delicious lunch without slaving away in the kitchen for hours.

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The 411 on Quinoa And Why You Should Eat It

  • It’s the queen of grains (note:technically quinoa is a seed but in cooking it is used as a grain), which means you get a good dose of fibre to keep your gut healthy.
  • Quinoa is a complete protein, containing all eight essential amino acids that help stimulate muscle growth and repair; perfect for those who work out regularly.
  • The iron in quinoa helps with brain function (and we could all use a bit of that throughout the working day!)
  • Quinoa is also low GI and gluten-free.

Need we say more?

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How To Cook Quinoa Perfectly

Cooking quinoa is easy to do but hard to get right. The ideal ratio is 1 cup of dried quinoa seeds to  2 cups of filtered water or homemade stock. This will yield around 3 cups of cooked quinoa.

To make enough quinoa for the three recipes below,  you will need 2 cups of quinoa and 4 cups of water or stock.

  1. Thoroughly rinse seeds in a fine mesh strainer. We often rinse 3 to 4 times. This helps to remove the saponin coating, which many people identify as a bitter, soapy taste in unrinsed quinoa.
  2. Bring the liquids and quinoa to the boil in a medium pot with the lid on, then lower heat to simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, until the seed tails have visibly unfurled.

Cooked quinoa will keep for up to approximately 3-4 days in a tightly sealed container. It also freezes well.

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Quinoa, Kale and Grapefruit Bowl

Not only does this bowl of goodness provide you with all the benefits of quinoa, it has all the added extras from everyone’s favourite superfood. Instead of overloading the salad with a heavy dressing, we use the bittersweet juices of the grapefruit, the sweetness of goji berries and raisins and the crunch of the cashews to build the flavour of this salad- the perfect vegan salad.

Ingredients – Serves 2

  • 2 cups of just cooked quinoa
  • 2 cups tightly packed, chopped kale
  • ½ a grapefruit, skin removed
  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • 1 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1 tbsp dried goji berries
  • 1 tbsp raisins
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Add the chopped kale in freshly into the pan of freshly cooked quinoa then cover with a lid to steam the kale until it’s wilted, about 5 minutes.
  2. While the kale is steaming, pull off the outer layer of the grapefruit, then remove the skins off from the wedges so that you’re left with the grapefruit flesh only. Pull apart to bite sized pieces.
  3. Add grapefruit and the remaining ingredients to the quinoa and kale, flavour with salt and pepper then mix thoroughly.
  4. Serve warm or cold.

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Pomegranate Protein Quinoa

In this salad, we use freshly squeezed orange juice as a light dressing. The remaining flavour comes from the pomegranate seeds, fresh dill and salty smoked fish (omit for vegan version). We especially love how colourful this dish is, totally insta-worthy!

Ingredients – Serves 2

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 x 100g piece of smoked fish (salmon or trout is a good option)- omit for a vegan version
  • 1 cup spinach leaves, loosely packed
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2 cups of mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 orange, freshly squeezed juice only
  • handful of roughly torn dill for garnish

 Directions

  1. In a bowl, combine all ingredients except fish and mix well to combine.
  2. Divide into two bowls (or tightly sealed container if taking it to work), lay smoked fish on top and garnish with dill.

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Mexican Quinoa Salad

We love a good Mexican bowl but in our perfect world, it’d have quinoa rather than rice as  a base. So we made our own! This recipe is a little more involved than the above salads but it’s totally worth it 🙂

Ingredients – Serves 2

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • ½ lime, zest and juice reserved and divided
  • ½ c coriander, finely chopped, divided
  • 2 medium tomatoes or a punnet of cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 c black beans, freshly cooked or canned
  • ½ avocado, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • cayenne pepper, sprinkled

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven at 180C. Line an oven tray with a piece of baking paper and lay cooked quinoa grains in a thin layer. Pop it in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes until toasted. It should be browned and slightly crispy.
  2. Chop all the ingredients while the quinoa is toasting in the oven.
  3. Place toasted quinoa in a bowl. Grate the lime zest over the seeds, pour in half of the lime juice and sprinkle over half the coriander. Mix thoroughly to combine.
  4. Top with red onion, tomatoes, black beans and avocado. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well, then drizzle with remaining lime juice, sprinkle with cayenne pepper to your liking and garnish with leftover coriander.


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