Spicy Quinoa Salad

Recipe from: Photograzing, “Dinner Tonight”

My mom and I really liked this salad. I found it extra refreshing the second day around, served cold instead of room temperature. It reminded me somewhat of the quinoa salad I ordered with Bek at a smoothie shop. (You would like this salad, Bek. You should have your mom try it. ;-)) I definitely intend to make it again. One thing that was misleading, however, was the adjective “spicy”. I found it quite mild, and would’ve doubled the jalapeno and perhaps even added the seeds.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups diced cucumber (about 2 medium)
  • 2 cups finely diced tomatoes (about 2 medium)
  • 1 to 2 jalapeño or serrano peppers (to taste), seeded if desired and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus several sprigs for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely minced (optional) [I dislike red onion, so I substituted four-ish green onions instead and found that quite to my liking]
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 avocado, sliced, for garnish

Directions:

Put the diced cucumber in a colander, and sprinkle with salt to draw some of the cucumbers’ moisture out. Gently mix the cucumbers and salt and allow to sit for 15 minutes or longer. To remove the salt, rinse the cucumber with cold water, and drain on paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.

Place the diced onions in a bowl of cold water. By soaking them before adding them to the salad you will remove the stinging bite of the onions, and it mellows out the taste a bit. Let them sit for five minutes before draining and then drying them off on paper towels. [Or just chop up some green onions instead, like I did]

Soak the quinoa for 5 minutes in the cooking pot. (Soaking it will help the quinoa cook evenly, and loosens up any residue of saponin (usually removed in processing), which can give it a bitter taste.)

Stir the quinoa with your hand, and carefully pour off the water using a fine mesh strainer.

Dump the quinoa back into the cooking pot, add 1 1/2 cups water and 1/2 tsp salt if desired. Bring to a boil, then cover with a tight fitting lid. Immediately turn the heat down to simmer. Cook for 15 minutes.

Remove quinoa from heat and allow to sit five minutes with the lid on. You will know the quinoa is done when it is tender and translucent; on each grain you will see a little “tail”.

Combine and stir the vinegar, lime juice, mustard and olive oil in a bowl. Add the tomatoes, jalapeno, cucumber, and onion. Season to taste with salt.

Add the quinoa and cilantro. Toss together, add salt and pepper if needed.

Dish and add a few slices of avocado and extra cilantro, if desired.

Serves six.