Recipe for a colourful Mediterranean Quinoa Salad perfect for the summers, that is also totally amenable to making ahead
While I’ve already answered questions like What is Quinoa and the comparison of Quinoa Vs Millets in my earlier post here, here are some more quinoa related questions that people often ask me in my workshops.
Is quinoa gluten free?
Quinoa is a pseudo grain and yes, it is naturally gluten free. Therefore, it safe to choose quinoa as the gluten free option to add to salads, and generally use in gluten free cooking. But if quinoa is processed in facilities that also processes other grains like wheat, then there may be the risk of cross contamination.
Does quinoa have carbs?
Yes, while quinoa is rich in protein, is cannot be considered as carb free or low carb ingredient. Quinoa is still 72% carbohydrate. The advantage is that 100 grams of cooked quinoa has 5 grams of protein.
What can I make with quinoa?
The slight bite to a correctly cooked quinoa makes it a pleasant addition to salads such as the Mediterranean Quinoa Salad recipe in this post. A slightly more cooked quinoa can be used as a filler in patties or croquettes. Quinoa Risotto became famous after it was made by a contestant, Kira Westwick, in Masterchef Australia.
Quinoa adds heartiness to soups, a good substitute for barley, pasta or chicken in a soup.
What Indian dishes can I make with quinoa?
Other than the obvious rice substitute to eat with dal, sambar, quinoa makes an excellent Quinoa ‘Sabudana’ khichdi that I shared on my blog earlier. It also makes a fairly good substitute in many Indian tiffin items. So don’t feel shy with experimenting with a quinoa upma or a quinoa poha, just adding the soaked and drained quinoa instead of semolina in upma and cooked quinoa instead of rehydrated poha. People have also tried quinoa idlis and dosas with reasonable success.
Check out my recipe for a delicious quinoa salad and an infographic on how to make a quinoa salad with any ingredients that you have in the kitchen.
The Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
This salad is a visual feast with its vibrant colours. I have made use of the tomatoes and rocket from my kitchen garden. Using Balsamic vinegar and crushed Italian herbs gives it a lovely Italian flavour.
Instead of quinoa, use any cooked millets or brown / red rice to make yet another equally delicious vegan and gluten-free salad. You can buy organic quinoa online here.
Mediterranean Quinoa Sald
- 1/4 cup uncooked quinoa (soaked for 1 hour)
- 2 small cucumbers
- 1 medium tomato
- 1/4 yellow bell pepper
- 1/2 small onion
- handful of fresh rocket
- 1.5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tbsp honey
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp crushed dried Italian herbs
- Drain the soaked quinoa and cook by boiling in water on a stove top until cooked, but retaining a bite to it.
- Fluff up the cooked quinoa with a fork and add to a bowl.
- Scrub the cucumbers. Slice vertically in half, deseed and dice.
- Deseed and chop the tomato.
- Dice the bell pepper, similar to the cucumbers.
- Finely chop the onion.
- Wash the rocket or any other salad leaves and drain. Dry well using cotton towels or in a salad spinner.
- To prepare dressing, take all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well with a fork until smooth and thick.
- Add all prepped veggies to the quinoa in the bowl. Add the dressing. Toss and serve.
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