I just got home from a pre-Australia Day party where pizzas were cooked in the outside pizza oven. It was just next door and several of us made a LOT of pizzas. Everyone on our street was invited as well as the people across the canal we live on. It was so nice to catch up with old and new friends.
One family from across the canal live in Christchurch, New Zealand and their house here is their holiday home. When Christchurch had the big earthquake they lost nearly everything. Rebuilt and then lost everything again in the 2nd huge quake last year. Now they live in their garage while waiting for the insurance to pay off to rebuilt their house again. How sad!
I brought this curried quinoa salad and every bit was eaten. It’s my very favorite salad. I call it vegetarian crack but you can call it salad. I love it because it’s sweet, hot, spicy and delicious.
The only cooking takes 9 to 10 minutes and that’s just putting the quinoa into boiling water and then straining the water off. Bingo. There IS a bit of chopping but seriously, how hard is that for the best salad in the world? That’s what a lovely English gentleman said to me tonight as he got on one knee and begged for the recipe. Okay, he was pretty tanked at the time so maybe it’s really NOT the best salad in the ENTIRE world but hey, he could be right!
Start by making the salad dressing. Mix extra virgin olive oil (the good stuff) along with the white balsamic vinegar. Then add one long red chilli finely diced, the ground cumin, ground coriander, cassia bark or cinnamon and the teaspoon of freshly grated ginger. Mix well and set aside so the flavors combine well before dressing the salad. Cassia is also called baker’s cinnamon. It’s a bit like cinnamon light.
Next, cook the quinoa. The recipe calls for one cup of quinoa and I just happened to have both red and white in my pantry so I cooked half cup of each. I think it worked really well.
Boil 2 cups of water in a saucepan, add a pinch of salt and toss in the quinoa. Cook for 9 or 10 minutes or until the grains are soft but not mushy. Strain the water off and set aside to cool. I put mine in a bowl and tilted the bowl and turned the fan on. It only took a few minutes for it to cool enough to put in the fridge.
Quinoa is a grain-like product originally from South America where the Incas felt the crop was sacred. It’s good for you too as well as being gluten free. It’s got more protein that other grains, it’s slow digesting with a low GI and polyunsaturated fats. It’s got lots of calcium, iron and Vitamin B. It really IS good for you and not only that… it’s part of the best salad in the world!
While the quinoa is cooling, it’s time to start chopping and gathering all the ingredients. Nothing worse than getting half of something made only to find out some son of a gun ate the dried blueberries you were saving for this salad.
Finely dice the capsicum (green peppers, sweet red peppers or sweet yellow peppers). I used all three colors just because I love a rainbow salad. It looks healthy to see all the colors. Then finely dice a red onion. Finally finely dice a half cup of celery.
Remove the leaves of the parsley and coriander (cilantro) and roughly chop and that’s it for the chopping department. The rest is just measuring. It’s 1/2 cup of sultanas or raisins, 1/2 cup cried cranberries, 1/2 cup dried blueberries, a cup of frozen baby peas (thawed) and a cup of unsalted peanuts (save some for garnish).
Take out the bowl of cooked quinoa and toss in all the chopped ingredients and stir to mix. Then add the dried fruit and stir again. If you’re going to eat the salad right away, add the peanuts, then add the dressing and garnish with coriander (cilantro) leaves, finely sliced chilli and reserved peanuts. If it’s going to be a while til you eat the salad, it will keep undressed for up to 4 days. Just add the peanuts and dressing and the salad is wonderful.
Here’s the recipe.
- ½ cup red Quinoa
- ½ cup white Quinoa
- 1 red onion finely diced
- ½ cup sultanas or raisins
- ½ cup dried cranberries (craisins)
- ½ cup dried blueberries
- 1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts (save ¼ cup for garnish)
- ½ red capsicum (sweet red pepper)
- ½ green capsicum (green pepper)
- ½ yellow capsicum (sweet yellow pepper)
- ½ cup chopped parsley
- ½ cup chopped coriander (cilantro)
- ½ cup chopped celery
- 1 cup peas (fresh or frozen-thawed)
- 1 heaps tsp ground coriander
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon or cassia bark
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 fresh red chilli finely diced
- 1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
- 3 tbsp good olive oil
- 3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
- Picked fresh coriander leaves for garnish
- Rinse quinoa grains in cold water and drain using a fine mesh strainer
- Cook quinoa in a pan of boiling water approx 9-10 minutes til grains are soft
- Drain well through a fine sieve
- Combine ground coriander, ground cumin, cassia or cinnamon, chilli, ginger and
- Add to oil and vinegar in a bowl to make the dressing and set aside to combine flavors
- Combine all other ingredients
- Fold dressing through
- Pile high on serving platter
- Garnish with peanuts and coriander leaves