Friday, January 28, 2011

Another Recipe: Herbed Quinoa Salad(s)

Even though it's winter-time, I felt it was time for me to bring to light one of my FAVORITE summer recipes, my herbed quinoa salad.  This is one of my favorite side dishes to cook in the summer, and I've started to have cravings for it lately...I might try to augment this to make it a more hearty "winter" recipe.  I'm feeling inspired tonight...hehe.

If you've never made quinoa before, you are definitely missing out!  I discovered it when I moved out to's what all the hippie's eat...but now I'm totally addicted.  Maybe that means I'm a hippie now too...whatever.

Note that the title says it's a recipe for salad(s).  I'll provide some ways that I change this up to make it either a side dish or an's so versatile!

Remember, my recipes are pretty much all estimates, so use quantities that match your tastes when you make this at home.  Hope you enjoy!

Nicole's Herbed Quinoa Salad
  • 1.5 cup quinoa (any variety) rinsed
  • 2 3/4 cup chicken broth (or veggie stock or water if you don't have stock on hand)
  • Juice from one lemon (or about 1/4 cup for cooking liquid and 1/4 cup for dressing)
  • About 1 cup fresh herbs - I use a combo of parsley, cilantro, thyme and basil but you can use anything!
  • 1-2 large tomatoes, diced (I love tomato so I use more)
  • 1 cup red onion, chopped
  • Olive oil for dressing (about 1/4 cup)
Start by cooking quinoa in a pot with chicken stock and 1/4 cup lemon juice.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce to simmer and cover until cooked (about 15 minutes).  All the liquid should be absorbed and the quinoa should have "sprouted."

Side Note:  If you want to adjust your quantities, the general rule of thumb is 2:1, liquid to quinoa ratio.  So for this, I have 3 cups total liquid and 1.5 cups quinoa...but you can make more or less using the same ratio (math lessons!  Heyoooo!)

In a large bowl, mix together the remaining lemon juice and olive oil with salt and pepper to create the base of your dressing.

Finely chop all your herbs and add to bowl.  Again, season with salt and pepper to taste and mix well.  Dressing should be a heavenly green color and smell like summertime!

Add cooked quinoa, chopped onion and diced tomato to the bowl.  Mix well to incorporate dressing and Ta-Dah!  Salad is done!  Season with salt and pepper and serve =)

Stopping here will make an amazing side dish to a grilled fish or chicken...or really any summer meal.  But if you want to make this salad the star of the show and turn it into an entree, here is how I've added to the recipe.

Add grilled veggies!  Any grilled veggies will do, but some of my absolute favorites to add are grilled asparagus and grilled zucchini.

I cut the zucchini into quarters length-wise (spears), toss the zucchini and asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper, then grill for a few minutes on a grill pan.  After I get those amazing grill marks, I move to a cutting board and do a french cut on both veggies (so cut them on a steep looks pretty).  I keep the sizes pretty large, so you can tell what you're eating.

After that, just add the grilled veggies to the salad and toss!

You can top with parmasen cheese or mix in some feta cheese - both work wonderfully with this.

I have also taken time to cut the tomato and red onion into quarters (instead of a dice) and grill that off to add to the salad too.  You could also add grilled eggplant, grilled bell pepper...yummers! can add anything...just use your imagination!

Hope this inspires someone to try quinoa if you've never had it before.  Enjoy!!


  1. Yum! I've never tried it before! Is it a starch? like Orzo or rizotto??

  2. Oh I forgot to mention that! It's actually NOT a starch or a grain - which is part of the reason it's so good for you. It's technically a seed and is considered a complete protein...which is unusual for a plant. Interesting? I think so =) It's so much better for you than rice or pasta since it's not a carb, but has a similar texture, which is why I love it (we all know I love my carbs!). You should definitely try it!

  3. I heart Quinoa. I just cooked some with half orange juice half water to pair with mandarin ginger salmon I made. SO GOOD. Kathryn, it's like a heartier version of couscous but it is a seed and a "superfood". Really good for you. Nicole, I have another good recipe, very similar. When I worked at Houston's they made it with cous cous but it would work with Quinoa as well. I'll email it to you. LOVE YOUR BLOG, LOVE YOU!


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