With the warmer weather on the way, it’s time to start thinking salads. Not just any salads, but colorful, citrus, spring, summer, salads. You know light, fresh, delicious ingredients that make a great lunch main course. Let’s welcome the new season with the brightest tastiest salads, like this recipe with Red and White Quinoa. Actually, this salad even cheers me up all year long, especially in the dark grey days of our rainy winter. Right now though, we’ve said good-bye to gloom, and welcome to blue skies and flowers!
I began to think about this salad after reading the dinner menu from the Headlands Lodge in Tofino that featured a Quinoa Salad with basil and pecorino. Mmmm! We had a wonderful much needed get-a-way in Tofino for a few days. The Wild West coast of Vancouver Island is amazing! Think long walks through rain forests and gorgeous beaches with an abundance of sea life and surfers. If you’ve never been, why not check Tofino out; you will be amazed at what it has to offer.
I first ate this salad a few years ago, and even though I didn’t have the recipe, went home and created my own version. I absolutely loved the fresh light taste of the lemons, tomatoes, and parsley. It reminded me of the colours in my favourite Hudson’s Bay Throw!
See what I mean? And I know you are wondering, what does the bottle have to do with Quinoa salad? Absolutely nothing! It is just one of my little treasures, this bottle being one of four unearthed from an old abandoned homestead in New Brunswick. That was an exciting day spent exploring, and I couldn’t resist the urge to include it in my photos.
I first made this Red and White Quinoa salad while on vacation last year in Arizona. I found the quinoa at Trader Joe’s (please, please, Trader Joe’s, open up stores in Canada!) and I just loved the effect of the two colours in the salad. Quinoa is an ancient Inca grain that has become very popular in recent years due to the fact that it is a complete protein. It really is super easy to prepare, and is a fantastic grain to eat cold in salads, as it doesn’t soak up all the liquid, leaving you with mega taste and no mush. You can purchase a large size bag at Costco (at least our local store carried it); then when you are making the salad, add a small amount of Red Quinoa (usually found at health food stores) to the white before cooking. It’s definitely not necessary, but I find it adds a bit of nice colour.
Going for a late morning walk with a friend? Why not whip this salad up that morning, place it in the fridge until later for a lovely lunch. Your friend will appreciate that you made something light and healthy, without compromising on the taste. It truly is a convenience food. It’s also a beautiful salad to look at, colourful and contemporary. A work of art! Quinoa is a wonderful choice for a spring salad and it is an excellent compliment to other flavours, without overpowering the taste. Light, summery, and so good for you.
In the photo above, the quinoa salad has a little more parsley and tomato added, just showing how this salad can be adjusted to suit your taste. Just have the regular quinoa on hand, and still want to make this salad? No problem, as the photo below illustrates; it’s still a handsome salad!
As a cold salad, a nice crusty baguette would be a great addition for a luncheon, as well as grilled fish, or chicken for a main course meal. Make sure your tomato is nice and ripe though, it just won’t taste the same with a bland pale red one. Also, make sure you cook the quinoa ahead of the other ingredients, (could do it the night before) as it needs time to cool.
Red and White Quinoa Salad
- 3/4 cup white Quinoa
- 2 tablespoons Red Quinoa
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 of a finely diced tomato insides removed
- 1/2 cup finely diced English cucumber seeds removed, optional
- zest from 1 lemon plus juice from 1 1/2 lemons
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil olive oil may be used as well, but extra virgin will give it a stronger flavour
- 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
To cook Quinoa:
Combine Quinoa with 1 1/2 cups water in pot. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, fluff with fork and let cool. Quinoa is cooked when each grain is translucent and white germ is visible.
Place cooled Quinoa in bowl. Add rest of ingredients and stir until combined. Can be refrigerated for 1 or 2 days ( a tablespoon of lemon juice may be needed to freshen flavour).