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.
QUINOA SALAD WITH THAI DRESSING
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)
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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- In a large bowl, toss the quinoa and dressing together until evenly combined.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and toss evenly.
- Refrigerate and serve within 3 days.