Saturday, January 31, 2009

umm...what was that? "q-u-i-n-o-a"?

Actually it is pronounced "keen-wah" and it was used by the Inca civilizations! It is a grain with a light consistency but pure protein and served as an appropriate food for these ancient peoples in such a hot climate. To prepare it, quinoa must be soaked in warm water for 3-5 minutes so that the bitter quality of the seeds is "agitated" and released into the warm water, leaving behind an almost milky substance. Remember that the amount of seeds you use will produce an amount of cooked quinoa that is double. Ahh to take part in antiquity - in the water turning this stuff over in my hands I contemplate a sacred connection with the hard working women of these sun-socities. If you are willing to see the history in your lunch, it is an incredibly humbling experience to prepare this vegetarian staple! If only I could also hang out at Machu Picchu and munch some down. It can be used in a lot of other recipes, especially for breakfast.

Well I'm going to the CJAM 91.5fm potluck today and this recipe is what I prepared. I altered some of the ingredients to accommodate the contents of my fridgidare! Its a salad - easy to make and right up the vegetarian alley. Actually its vegan depending on the dressing you choose! I'm not sure what I'll use yet but probably something mild, oily and sweet to compliment the quinoa and mango. Enjoy - I know I will and hopefully those at the CJAM potluck will also.

Mango Quinoa Salad

Pre-Salad-Assembly Directions:

Ok so first prepare the quinoa enough time in advance so that it can cool and maybe sit in the fridge for a couple hours or overnight. For every one cup of the grain, add two cups of water to soak it in and once that water is disposed of then two cups again to boil it with. Only leave it on the stove for about 10-15 minutes though - until it gets fluffy! Then let it sit for a few and absorb the leftover water before you put it in the fridge because it has to be cold if used in a salad. (I mean unless you want a hot and soggy salad which doesn't sound too appetizing). The great thing about salad recipes though is that you can change it how ever you want and it will probably still taste good. Just keep the pairing up of ingredients in mind and put as much or least of whichever you want to end up on your plate.

Ingredients (most of which you can get at a fresh market and bulk food store):

-whole fresh spinach leaves
-1 ripe mango, peeled and cubed
-crushed almonds (put almonds in a little bag and go to town with one of those meat hammers)
-cucumber (cut into cubes if possible)
-crunchy pita chips
-sprinkle of roasted sesame and hemp seeds
-handful of peapods cut into halves


  1. Mmm, do most grocery stores in Windsor sell quinoa or is there somewhere special I should go for it? Because this salad is definitely the kind of thing I'd like to try my hand at making! [I was actually a vegetarian/vegan for about 3 years but fell off the veggie-wagon a while back. I've been thinking of climbing back on, though, and simple recipes like this remind me that it was delicious, healthier, and not that hard!]

  2. Quinoa.... favourite!

    You should check out this vegan cookbook I bought during the Holidays. It's called Veganomican: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook. It's by the same author's of "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World."

    So delicious.

    Your salad yesterday was so delish!

  4. A while ago I bought a bag of this because I was looking for good alternatives. These are the first recipes that I've come across since I misplaced the original article about this food. Just want to say thanks -- hopefully, I can get motivated to try them.

  5. Ashley,
    quinoa is so yummy and you can get it at the bulk barn!
    way easy to cook so glad I could remind everyone about it

  6. Nicole I love your blog! These recipe's look so delicious!

  7. Glad you like it, the recipe is easier than it may seem!

  8. i want to dive into this salad right now.!