Sassy Stove Quinoa Salad

Challenge – It’s Super Bowl Sunday and I’m tasked to create a delicious dish that is also healthy.  What to do?  This is where my good friend, quinoa comes in.

Though many people refer to quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) as a whole grain, it’s actually a seed that is grown in the Andes Mountains in South America.  In contains all eight amino acids, making it a complete protein.  It is also an excellent source of fiber, phosphorous, magnesium, and iron.  It’s gluten-free to boot.  Now that’s a super food!

Quinoa is great served hot or cold and can be made in savory or sweet dishes (see my first ever sweet creation here:  https://thesassystove.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/breakfast-quinoa-maple-cinnamon-with-roasted-pecans/).  You can use it as you would couscous or a rice.  I like it  as a cold salad, a hot side dish, stuffed in peppers, sprinkled on top of lettuce salads….the possibilities are endless!

So let’s get cooking!  A few notes about the recipe below:

This makes a generous ‘party size’ dish to enjoy

Don’t be thrown by using cranberries – it goes – trust me!

For those worried about using agave nectar (some debate over how healthy or natural it is as it is typically a processed food) try honey.  Please realize in using honey you’re de-veganizing it, as most vegans will not consume honey since it comes from bees.

For the Salad:

  • 2 cups quinoa, rinsed
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, small dice
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1/3-1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3/4 cup  dried cranberries

For the Dressing:

  • zest and juice of two limes
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 tablespoons grape seed oil
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar (or honey)
  • pinch salt and pepper

Directions:

 

Cook the quinoa according to the packaging directions (2 cups of quinoa, 4 cups of water to a boil, reduce head and cook until water is absorbed- about 20 minutes)

Allow quinoa to chill in the refrigerator until cold or leave on the counter until room temperature.

Once the quinoa has cooled, stir in the red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, red onion, celery, carrots, cranberries and cilantro.

To make the dressing, put all ingredients in a mason jar or similar container with a tight lid and give a good shake. Pour vinaigrette over quinoa and vegetables.

Stir to combine and chill until ready to serve.

I took this dish to our ‘Biggest Loser’ food challenge at school.  We were tasked to bring in a healthy recipe and bonus points were assigned if we brought it in to share at lunch.  The most amount of points goes to the team with the favorite dish!  We were just judged today!  Hope Sassy Stove Quinoa salad has what it takes!  Wish me luck and I’ll keep you posted!

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