My super healthy quinoa salad
For centuries this gluten free quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) was a cherished ancient grain of the Andes. It has made its way to the western cuisine in the early 80s and since then spread all over the world. These tiny grains are mighty, they are high in protein and contain 8 amino acids necessary for tissue developments alongside essential vitamins and minerals, it is a perfect protein source for vegetarians and vegans. I just love using this grain for it's fluffy and soft yet crunchy texture with notes of nuttiness, and for its versatility in the kitchen, I treat it as I do crack wheat or bulgur.
Every now and again I go on a clean eating diet to give my digestive system a break. I call this salad my super healthy as it contains everything that is good to feed and nurture our body. It is a bouquet of natural ingredients which between all of them provide our bodies with a spectrum of vitamins and antioxidants, not to forget the vital fibre it supplies which helps regulate the bowls and the sugar in the blood.
If kale is available where you live, I highly encourage you to add it as it sits on the top of the superfoods pyramid. This salad is open to for you to add your favourite vegetables even fruits like grapes and blueberries work wonders.
I added roasted sweet potatoes and butternut squash as I love them in any way prepared, as for the grilled aubergines and peppers they are super low in calories and provide the smokey flavour which makes this salad well rounded. It is sweet, nutty, salty, crunchy and smokey. Every bite is a fiesta and a burst of flavours in your mouth.
Preparation Time: 1 hour
Start to finish: 1 hour 5 minutes
3/4 cup quinoa
3/4 cup water
250 grams butternut squash
250 grams sweet potato
1 red bell pepper
1 medium eggplant
1 big tomato
2 small cucumbers
250 grams spinach leaf
4 green onion
1/3 cup walnuts
1 cup pomegranate
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
3 tablespoons walnut oil
* Place the quinoa in a pot over medium heat and toast it until the aroma is released and it starts popping.
* Pull the pot aside and wait for it to cool and bit then add the water. Return to the heat, cover and when the liquid has evaporated entirely take it off the heat and place it aside to cool.
* Roast the butternut squash and sweet potatoes according to the recipe under Basics.
* Follow the instruction for grilling the pepper and aubergine under basics.
* Cut the avocado, tomato and cucumber into cubes, and slice the green onions to any size you like.
* Once the quinoa has cooled place it alongside all the salad ingredients in a salad bowl.
* For the dressing simply whisk all the ingredients in a bowl and toss it with the salad.
* You can use any vegetables you fancy, what is important is to think of achieving different textures.
* You can use any other grain such as wheat, pearl barley, cuscus and the list is endless.
* Adding some seeds such as sunflower and pumpkin seeds add a boost of vitamin E and B complex.
Per Serving: 361 Calories; 15g Fat (35.6% calories from fat); 10g Protein; 52g Carbohydrate; 9g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 64mg Sodium.