Sunday, 21 November 2010

Japanese Quinoa Salad

Oops I did it again. I was half way through making this before I realised that it was Accidentally Vegan (well it would be if you use vegetable stock, which I did and leave out the honey I guess). It could be gluten free, if you used the tamari (I think that's GF, although I'm not a GF expert).

It's great where inspiration can strike. Thumbing through this weeks Good Living (the Tuesday Food and Wine supplement in the Sydney Morning Herald) my eyes lit up at the kids recipe- a spinoff from the Junior Masterchef phenomenon no doubt. Japanese Quinoa Salad.

I had some fabulous quinoa in the pantry and thought it would look fantastic in this salad.

Actually I think it looks prettier uncooked and in the packet, but it's still a nice effect.

Japanese Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 large carrot, peeled, julienned, blanched
1/2 red capsicum (bell pepper), julienned
Large handful snow peas, topped, blanched
1 small cucumber, washed, julienned
1 bunch coriander, roughly chopped
1/2 cup cashews, toasted, roughly chopped
1 toasted nori sheet, ripped into bite sized pieces
2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
Baby spinach leaves, washed

Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp finely grated ginger
1 tsp tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp honey, optional

Wash the quinoa by rinsing it in cold water and strain well. Put washed quinoa and stock into a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil, then lower heat, cook over low to medium heat for 25 minutes, or until soft, and water absorbed. Set aside.

Combine cooled quinoa, carrots, capsicum, snow peas, cucumber and spinach. Add the coriander, cashews, sesame seeds (reserving some to serve).

To make the dressing, mix all ingredients and stir lightly.

Dress the salad and toss lightly, sprinkle with nori and extra sesame seeds.

OMG I can't believe how delicious this salad is. My new favourite lunch, and I haven't even had a chance to blog my old favourite lunch yet. Interestingly, both involve quinoa. Although not all quinoa experiments are as successful as I found out today when I toyed with a sweet quinoa dish.

Suggested as suitable for 8-12 year olds to make, but is easy enough for adults to make too.

I can't stand raw carrot, and think it's actually inedible, and since I've already eaten some once this year, I decided to modify this recipe by cooking the carrots, and greening it up, with some snow peas and spinach. I was planning to add asparagus (just because I love it, and the season will end soon) but the stuff available yesterday was about as thick as my forearm, and didn't look appealing.

I  upped the amount of cashews because it seemed a bit stingy, and you can never have too many cashews now can you? And I doubled the amount of coriander, just because I love it so.

I just realised I forgot the ginger from the dressing! Oops. Still delicious. I used the honey, I may try it without, I was planning to, but it really is delicious as is, did I mention that? So now I don't really want to mess with perfection.

 Because this makes a reasonable amount of salad, and since I'm using it for work lunches it will last me the majority of the week, so I only made up the quinoa, carrot and capsicum. Then each day I add fresh greens to it in my lunch box. And I carry little containers with the seeds/nuts/nori/dressing to keep them fresh and crunchy, to keep the texture nice. No point in having soggy salad just because you're at work, there has to be one highlight to the day.

I'm planning on topping it with the asian flavoured tofu that I have lurking in the fridge (no-one else in the house is in danger of touching it!), but didn't get around to that today. I'm sure it would work with a tin of soy beans mixed through as well.


  1. Oh, this is absolutely my kind of dish! I might even make it for dinner tomorrow. LOVE the idea of tearing up nori into it! Although this might be a way for me to use up more of the arame in my pantry, as a substitute...

  2. I hope you like it Hannah- I'm sure you will, it's very delicious. Let me know how it goes. I'm sure any seaweed that you have lurking in your pantry will be fine. I happened to have a packet of nori lurking in the cupboard that I'd bought in Sydney earlier in the year, and a perfect way to start using it. Your post made me realise that I'd meant to include a nori picture, so I've added that now.

  3. mmm, tuna would be good in there too (I love quinoa and tuna salad)

  4. It would be good Hilary. I like tuna but went off it a year or so ago. All those woe is us, we're overfishing the ocean to death articles got to me. And it's ruined tuna for me. So maybe salmon instead- it's farmed, so I don't have to worry about overfishing, and I really like salmon with japanese flavours.

  5. Ahhh you are a girl after my own heart! I only just blogged about my OWN variation on a Lola Berry Quinoa Salad tonight, but I like the 'Japanese' style of yours.

    I am feeling you on the next favourite thing. I wanted to marry myself after making this salad tonight and was like a dog with a bone when any of my other family members wanted to try any ;)

  6. Thanks for stopping by Girl On Raw, I've just visited your blog for the first time- lots of great ideas there. Is there a way of doing raw quinoa? Or it just has to be cooked? I love this salad, and didn't tire of it all week. I shall make it again soon I'm sure.