Thai quinoa salad

It’s been perfect weather in Australia since July (aka the “dead of winter” here), and thus I am always in a summery mood here.  It’s just gotten hotter since then, which makes me crave cooler foods and salads.  Unfortunately, these don’t store or freeze like my favourite soups and stews, but nevertheless they are delicious and can be a much needed health boost after weeks spent socialising (meaning eating out / going to bakeries / drinking a lot).  I found this quinoa salad and absolutely fell in love with the gorgeous colours and interesting dressing that adds a great flavour boost.  Like with most of my recipes, all the time is sunk into the prep of the veggies, and once that’s done, you just mix everything together, add the little dressing, and voila.  It really couldn’t be easier.

The original recipe calls for some things I just didn’t have on hand, so I’ve modified.  I also made a much lighter dressing since I was attempting to be healthier.  I would advise that if you want to have some leftovers, don’t mix the dressing in – I tried to eat this over several days and unfortunately by day 3 it was kind of soggy and gross.  But the day it’s made it’s spectacular and can feed a crowd, which makes it a perfect dish for company!

Thai quinoa salad (adapted from Sundays with Jennie)

Ingredients

Salad:

  • ¾ cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1-2 cups shredded red cabbage, depending on how much crunch you like
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • ¼ cup diced green onions – I left these out
  • 1/4 cup snap peas, diced – these were too expensive so I just left them out (but they would definitely be excellent – I added cucumber instead)
  • 1/4 cup water chestnuts, diced
  • ½ cup cashew halves or peanuts or slivered almonds – optional (I don’t really like nuts in my salads so I left them out)

For the Dressing

  • ¼ cup all natural peanut butter – I only used a couple tablespoons (I really don’t like heavy dressings and this was not going to be very healthy if I had tons of peanut butter haha)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 3 tablespoon soy sauce
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Cook quinoa according to instructions on the packaging.  Make the dressing by heating the peanut butter in the microwave, then add in the other ingredients and stir until the mixture is smooth.  Put the cooked quinoa in a large bowl and add literally all the vegetables to the bowl.  Then just mix it all up. Add the dressing and mix thoroughly if you are planning on serving it all at once.  If you want to eat it over a few days I would recommend storing the dressing separately though.  Serve the salad either chilled or at room temperature.  I think it was delicious at room temperature the day it was made and then afterwards store it in the fridge and serve chilled.

IMG_6228Shredding carrots (I need a better grater or a mandolin – this takes forever if you don’t have a good one)

IMG_6229Cooked quinoa ready to go

IMG_6231Tons of diced cabbage and the grated carrots added on top of the quinoa. You definitely want a nice big bowl to mix all this up

IMG_6232Adding in some cucumber – but you can get creative and add any crunchy veggies you want

IMG_6233And finally mixing in red and yellow capsicums and water chestnuts

IMG_6235It’s just so colourful I had to take multiple photos

This is 100% a recipe I would bring to a barbecue or a picnic.  I think it’s definitely best the day it’s made which is a shame since I love leftovers, but this makes it a perfect dish to bring to a potluck.  It’s just so beautiful looking that I’d be perfectly happy serving it at a casual dinner party, perhaps with some simple grilled meat for people who can’t stand being vegetarians.  It’s one of those delightful dishes that feels so virtuous to eat but is truly delicious.  Sorry Americans, I know it’s becoming colder there but maybe you should make this to keep the feel of summer around…

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