Quinoa Salads

Apr 022017

Quinoa Salad with Thai Dressing



In my opinion, the best quinoa salads are the ones which are slightly outnumbered by the other ingredients in the salad. I’ve been subjected to several quinoa salads in restaurants which were really not much more than simply a plate of cold bland quinoa with a few vegetables and a barely-there dressing. Quinoa is a wonderful carrier of flavours so virtually any dressing works well with it. The Thai Dressing used in this recipe is flavourful yet light. I tossed my quinoa with lots of fresh crunchy vegetables diced small enough so that each forkful gets a little bit of everything.You can use the same vegetables as I did (carrots, red bell peppers and cucumbers) or any combination of your choice as long as the total amount of vegetables comes to 3 cups.




Dressing Ingredients:

40ml fresh lime juice

1.5 Tbsp fish sauce (nam pla)

1 Tbsp sesame oil

1 tsp soy sauce

½ tsp brown sugar

Tiny pinch of salt

Red chilli flakes or chilli powder (according to taste)


Salad Ingredients:

2.5 cups (500ml) quinoa, cooked and cooled (1 cup of dried quinoa will cook into about 3 cups of cooked quinoa)

1 cup grated carrots

1 cup red bell peppers (capsicum), diced

1 cup cucumber, diced

3 spring onions (scallions), sliced

½ cup fresh coriander (cilantro), washed and chopped

1 cup toasted cashew nuts (optional)



  1. Prepare the dressing by combining all dressing ingredients together in a jar with a lid. Shake well. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary (the dressing will taste quite salty but it will be fine once it is tossed with all the salad ingredients). Set dressing aside.
  2. Use pre-cooked quinoa or boil your own. To boil quinoa, measure out 1 cup of dried quinoa, rinse it in the sink, and simmer in some salted water. Drain and allow to cool.
  3. Wash and chop all the vegetables. You can use the vegetables above (carrots, red bell peppers and cucumbers) or any combination of your choice as long as the total amount of vegetables is 3 cups.
  4. If you want to add toasted cashews, place the cashews in a dry pan on medium heat and toss for a few minutes until lightly toasted.
  5. In a large bowl, toss the quinoa and dressing together until evenly combined.
  6. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss evenly.
  7. Refrigerate and serve within 3 days.


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Apr 272016

Salad Bowl: Quinoa & Prawn Salad


When I want to put together a well-balanced salad fast, I make myself a quick salad bowl using a mix of pre-cooked leftovers and raw ingredients which I usually have washed and ready to cut. Instead of following a recipe, I simply follow my instinct.


Organising the salad ingredients into segments in the bowl which I plan to eat from helps me to create a well-balanced salad and ensures that the portion size is correct so that there is no waste.


This is a salad bowl I made recently using leftover grilled prawns and quinoa plus freshly cut lettuce, avocado and tomatoes. I like placing a dollop of yogurt or some kind of dip in the center and scatter a few chopped nuts or seeds on top. Leftovers are often well-seasoned, so I don’t always add a dressing. If I do, it is usually a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sea salt.


To learn more, have a look at my Tutorial: How to Use Leftovers to Make a Quick and Delicious Salad Bowl.




All ingredients should be cut into bite-size pieces.

Quantities depend on what you have in the house.

Make ingredient substitutions as you see fit.



2-3 cooked jumbo prawns per person

Cooked quinoa




Greek yogurt (or any other dip)

Chopped pistachio nuts (or any other nuts or seeds)



  1. Cut your jumbo prawns into 3-4 pieces and place and place in 1/5 of your salad bowl.
  2. Fill the remaining 4/5 of your salad bowl with equal amounts of shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, cooked quinoa and diced avocado (see image above).
  3. Place a good dollop of yogurt or other dip in the center.
  4. Scatter some nuts or seeds on top of the yogurt.
  5. If desired, drizzle some extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sea salt on top of your salad.
  6. Serve.
  7. To eat, mix all the ingredients together and start chomping!


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May 032013

Quinoa and Sweet Potato Salad with Cumin-Lime Dressing


The more I learn about the ancient South American grain Quinoa, the more I am trying to find ways to include it in my diet.


Quinoa is increasing in popularity due to its excellent nutritional qualities. It is gluten-free and one of the only vegetarian complete proteins out there. A complete protein is a food which contains all 9 of the essential amino acids which our body cannot create itself and needs to get from food. Amino acids are used by the body for virtually every bodily task. Animal protein is a complete protein but most vegetarian proteins are incomplete – except for quinoa.


Quinoa is largely grown in Peru, which is what inspired me to combine it with traditional Peruvian ingredients – sweet potatoes, beans (lima or black beans) and cumin are used frequently in Peruvian dishes. Quinoa is inexpensive, easy to store, and as simple to prepare as rice. It has a mild flavor that adapts well to many dishes.


To learn more about Quinoa, have a look at ‘Quinoa: 5 Great Reasons Why You Should Be Eating It’.





(Serves 6 as a side salad)



Dressing Ingredients:

1 Tbsp vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)

2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice

5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp ground cumin

Generous pinch of sea salt



Salad Ingredients:

100g (3/4 cup) dried lima (butter) beans or black beans (or 200g cooked)

1 cup / 200 ml dried quinoa (or 3 cups cooked)

1&1/2 cups boiling water

300-350g sweet potato

1 fresh jalapeno chilli pepper, deseeded and finely chopped




  1. Sweet potatoes: Preheat the oven to 400F/200C. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into 2-inch pieces. Place in an oven-proof dish, toss with some olive oil and a touch of sea salt, and roast in the oven for 20 minutes (stirring half way through). Check that they are cooked through, and then allow to cool.
  2. Beans: Soak 100g of dried beans in water overnight. I find that soaking them for a few hours in freshly boiled water just before cooking does as good a job as an overnight soak. Boil the beans in a pot of simmering water for 20-45 minutes. Allow to cool.
  3. Quinoa: Measure out 1 cup of quinoa and rinse it well. Quinoa can be difficult to rinse because a lot of it floats to the top, so my favorite way of rinsing it is by putting the quinoa in a fine mesh colander and placing the colander in a larger bowl. Place the bowl with the colander in it into the sink and run water over it. This allows you to rinse the quinoa and then raise the colander up out of the bowl to easily drain it. Rinse the quinoa well in 2-3 changes of water and drain. Prepare the quinoa according to the instructions on the packaging. I put 1 cup of quinoa and 1&1/2 cups kettle-boiled water into a pot and allow it to simmer (covered) for 15 minutes, followed by 5 minutes off the heat (covered), and then fluff it with a fork. Allow it to cool by spreading on a plate.
  4. Jalapeno: Deseed and chop 1 jalapeno chilli pepper.
  5. Dressing: Prepare the dressing by combining all the dressing ingredients together in a jar and shaking well.
  6. Once all the ingredients are cool, combine the beans, quinoa, sweet potato, jalapeno, and dressing in a salad bowl and toss well.
  7. Refrigerate and serve within 24 hours.
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