Quinoa salad

People are divided into those who love quinoa and those who hate it, the latter claiming that tastes bland. I think I belong to neither group and simply like it and eat it in moderation. My favorite quinoa dishes are this salad and zucchini and quinoa miso.

 

This salad is very fast and easy to make and convenient to put into a glass container and take with you for lunch. I like to make it for day trips. It’s filling and nutritious.

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Quinoa is one of those plants that contain all essential amino acids. Although many sources praise it for high quality protein, its content is still lower (8 g per cup of cooked quinoa) than the protein content in beans and lentils (15 g per cup of most kinds of beans and 18 g per cup of cooked lentils).  Quinoa is quite high in magnesium and phosphorus, contains decent amounts of most B vitamins, iron, zinc and copper and some selenium. Cashews add some more protein (also all essential amino acids) and quite a bit of fat (predominantly omega 6 fatty acids) to the dish. They are quite rich in magnesium and copper. Fresh vegetables contain vitamins, minerals (parsley is especially rich in iron and contain vitamin C that helps its absorption) and antioxidants. The fat in the nuts will help absorb fat-soluble vitamins (A and K) the parsley gives us so abundantly. Overall, this salad can not only be served as a side dish, but can be eaten as a whole meal.

 

Ingredients:

 

1 ½ cup dry quinoa,

2 small cucumbers,

2 medium tomatoes,

2 cups fresh parsley leaves,

1 cup fresh green onions, chopped,

1 cup cashew nuts,

½ lemon,

2 cloves garlic.

 

Rinse the quinoa really well on a stainless steel sieve. You might have heard that unwashed quinoa has a bitter taste to it due to high content of saponins (the same as in laundry nuts). Most if not all of the quinoa sold in America is already pre-washed from saponins before being delivered to stores, but still need to wash the dirt off.

 

Cook quinoa together with the cashews in 2 ¼ cups of water (see: Grains). Cooking will soften the nuts. If you prefer them hard though, you may choose to omit cooking them add them to the salad later. Chop all the vegetables very finely.

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Place them in a bowl together with the cooked and cooled quinoa. Press garlic and squeeze lemon juice into it. Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly.

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Refrigerate for 30 minutes, serve and enjoy!