You know that moment when the little voice inside you says “eat healthy” but then the other voice says: “it better taste good!” This is a salad which caters for both voices…and the ones coming from a hungry tummy :)
I jumped on the infamous quinoa bandwagon, after reading so many articles on how healthy and nutritious it was. When I looked into it more, I realised it was also very versatile and easy to make. So I put on my “chef hat” and came up with the recipe below. It’s not only delicious and super quick to make but also very filling.
How amazing do the colors look!
Before I get onto the recipe, here’s a quick facts list about quinoa and its nutritional benefits:
Quinoa, although grain-like, is actually a seed. It’s a superfood with very high levels of protein as well as iron and calcium. It’s gluten free and easy to digest which is great for those who suffer from digestive problems. Quinoa comes in different colors and forms: white whole quinoa – as pictured; puffed form (like popcorn) to add to cereals or in flour form to be used in baking. Quinoa can be used in salads, soups, risottos and even in desserts such as quinoa pudding. Told you it was versatile :)
For this recipe, here’s what you need – though not limited to, as you can alter it according to your taste:
1 cup quinoa; 2 cups cold water; 1/2 cup corn; 1/2 cup mixed beans (I used canned combo of white beans, red kidney beans and chickpeas); 1/2 cup of diced red pepper; 1/2 cup of largely diced cucumber; tuna; handful of baby spinach leaves; salt & pepper; olive oil and lemon for dressing. Serves 2.
Cooking the Quinoa: The most important thing is, you must rinse the quinoa thoroughly before use. Quinoa is cooked in a similar fashion to rice. Whatever amount of quinoa you use, you need to add double that of water to it. I used 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of water; also added some salt to taste. I usually cook mine in the microwave at high for about 13-15mins. You can also cook it in a pan over stove top for about the same amount of time – or until the quinoa goes softer and more transparent. After 15mins in the microwave (or stove top), set aside and cover the container with a lid for 5mins; the steam will help cook it further and also settle it. After this, fluff up the quinoa with a fork; allow it to cool to room temperature before adding the rest of the ingredients.
Ingredients and dressing: This is the part where you can alter the ingredients to your liking. I like this combination as it’s quite light, yet the quinoa and the bean mix make it very filling. Mix in all the ingredients, folding them through the cooked quinoa; top it with the tuna. Drizzle some olive oil and lemon or lime juice over it and…you have yourself a delicious healthy salad!
Of course you can substitute tuna with grilled chicken, beef or lamb (or leave it out altogether), you can also use other vegies and dressings of your choice. I included below couple of other favorites alternatives of mine using this amazing superfood ;)
To your cooked quinoa; just add:
I hope you enjoy! xx