Quinoa Salad

Quinoa is a wonder food. It’s high in everything good and has no bad qualities. What’s even better, I really like it – it tastes great.

It’s as easy as rice to make (well, I use a rice cooker so rice is way too easy to make, but this is almost as easy). Did I mention, quinoa has all the added benefits of being really good for you?

Let me say that I was never a salad person. I liked leafy green vegetables, but I never really liked the dressing part of the deal. In the past, if a meal came with a salad at a restaurant, I would always order it “Just the way God made it” – no dressing! I got some strange looks, and, I realize now, for good reason. I wasn’t into cooking back then and didn’t understand at all how dressings actually enhance the flavour of the salad and bring out the different nuances in the food. I know better now. The choice of dressing can actually change your whole experience of the salad.

Now, time to be honest. When I made this Quinoa Salad, I made the oil, vinegar, pepper and salt vinaigrette and put it in a bowl beside the salad. After dinner I asked myself “What is this bowl of liquid doing here?” It was the dressing. I’d forgotten to mix it into the salad!

I mentioned to Belle a day later that I had omitted the dressing and she couldn’t believe it. She loved the salad as it was and didn’t think it tasted like anything was missing. So there you go – if you like the sound of this salad, perhaps you could try it with the dressing and then try it without and see which you like better. Please let me know, too! I do plan on trying this again, with the dressing mixed in next time, but it would be nice to hear from others about their experiences with this salad.

Belle notes: I really was surprised when Ward told me he’d forgotten to add the dressing to this salad. I really enjoyed it – quinoa has a slightly nutty flavour that’s just so good, and the addition of the feta cheese really enhanced the dish. An added benefit? With every bite I kept thinking, “And quinoa is such a healthy food!”

Quinoa Salad
Adapted from The New Steak

1 cup organic quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 cups baby arugula leaves
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 tbsp fresh oregano leaves, chopped
1 tbsp fresh parsley leaves, chopped
4 radishes, sliced thin
5 scallions, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white vinegar
freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt
8 oz feta cheese (with tomato and basil), crumbled

  1. In a medium pot add water, quinoa and salt and bring to a boil over medium heat with a lid on.
  2. Stir and simmer with lid on for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Let cool when done.
  4. Combine the baby arugula, tomatoes, mint, oregano, parsley, radishes and scallions in a salad bowl.
  5. Mix the olive oil, vinegar, pepper and salt in a small bowl and toss the salad with it.
  6. Place the salad on the plate and add the feta and quinoa on top.
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