The first time I had a quinoa dish that caught my attention was at the Whole Foods in Westwood, CA. All I got was a quick lunch of cranberry quinoa salad. It looked ordinary enough, but let me tell you. I still think about this salad. And that was about 2 years ago. I had to google the recipe to see if I could find the recipe online, and a brilliant food blogger, In Corpore Sano, posted his/her version. The person couldn’t get the recipe from the Whole Foods store(they kindly declined), but s/he luckily made up a recipe that is pretty darn close to what I ate. I make this salad about once a week, and I always toss in new ingredients to jazz things up, such as chopped walnuts, grape tomatoes, dried figs, crumbled goat cheese, and chopped cucumbers. Why do I love this dish? Because it's perfectly portable, doesn't wilt, and it's beautifully crisp and fresh! —Full-thyme Student
raw quinoa (yellow or tri-color)
fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
Half a red bell pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
sweetened dried cranberries
1/3 - 1/2 cups
of any 1-2 of the following ingredients: halved grape tomatoes, chopped walnuts, chopped cucumbers, OR crumbled goat cheese
green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
Pour quinoa into a mesh strainer and rinse with tap water. Rinse the quinoa a few times, rubbing the quinoa between your fingers to remove bitter taste on outside of quinoa grains.
Pour quinoa into a small pot with water (about 2 inches of water above quinoa) and cover saucepan to bring to a boil. Once pot comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer for 6-10 minutes, or just until quinoa is tender and slightly firm still. Do not overcook quinoa; drain any excess water in the saucepan and transfer the cooked quinoa to a large bowl.
Add lemon juice, ground coriander, ground cumin, paprika, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, and toss quinoa until evenly mixed. Add chopped bell pepper, sliced green onions, cranberries, cilantro, and your preferred optional ingredients, and mix with quinoa until combined. If necessary, adjust for seasoning by adding additional spices, lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper. Serve quinoa salad at room temperature or chilled.