17 January 2011

Quick & easy quinoa lunch salad

Ever since I discovered quinoa a few years ago, I've been in love with it! Hailing from the Andes, the Incas believed that quinoa was a sacred grain, calling it 'chisaya mama' or the mother of all grains. As an excellent source for plant protein (12-18% protein content thanks to its balanced set of essential amino acids), iron, magnesium, potassium and lysine, quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse! The South American grain can be substituted for rice, couscous and other refined starches in just about any recipe. As a vegetarian and being on a quest to eat more whole grains, I've been eating more and more quinoa lately.

If you make a big batch of this salad on the weekend as a I did, it will be perfect for a few days of delicious, nutritious lunches. Chickpeas and almonds add additional protein, while the shredded carrots pack in beta carotene and the cranberries vitamin C and fiber. Despite my trepidation about curry powder (it just seems like cheating somehow to this Indian girl!), it serves as a perfect seasoning in a salad like this. Enjoy it!

Makes 4 lunch servings

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 to 1 tablespoon curry powder
Salt to taste
1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
2 tablespoons green onions or garlic chives, chopped (optional - make sure you brush your teeth afterwards if you use them, otherwise your co-workers might not be very pleased!)
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
4 tablespoons chickpeas
2 tablespoons sliced or slivered almonds

1. Place quinoa, water, curry powder and salt in a large saucepan and bring to boil. Cover and reduce heat to low and cook until all the water is absorbed (as per package instructions).

2. Place the quinoa in a large bowl and let it cool. Add all of the remaining ingredients and toss. You're done!


  1. This looks FANTASTIC!!! Holy cow... yum! I think I'll even add some Chia seeds and have this for tomorrow. Thanks!

  2. I'm with you there! Love, love, love quinoa. It's almost a dream come true - easy to make, versatile, and healthy. I think you have inspired me to make some tonight!

  3. quinoa again :). Yes, it was quinoa week! thanks for sharing.

  4. Quina looks so popular..
    how does it taste? :) is there any comparison? is it filling?

  5. I have to find this..never taste it before, and it sounds so healthy and looks tempting!

  6. Gotta say, never tried anything like this before, so will give it a bash at some point as it looks great!

  7. This looks great! You have to love a salad you can make that will last a few days.

  8. MsByn - Great idea to add chia seeds, though I must say I have never tried them! How are they?

    Jessica & something good - Yay, quinoa! I just love it too!

    Medeja - I think that the closest thing to quinoa in taste is bulghur, though quinoa is much better in my book.

    Sandra & Travel Food Phil - You must try it! Quinoa is available in organic/natural foods stores as well as many larger supermarkets now. In the U.S., I used to buy it at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. Here in France, I can get it at most major supermarkets. Not sure about Ireland but I'm sure it's available readily there, Phil!

    All That's Left Are the Crumbs - Yes, I love things that will last a few days!

  9. What a lovely salad! sounds absolutely delicious!

  10. So smart to make this on the weekend and eat throughout the week!

  11. I WANT THIS NOW! Please. Looking for quinoa this week!

  12. This recipe looks great. I have had some nice results from cooking the quinoa in broth; it adds a rich, hearty flavor. Love this blog...say hi to Luis for me.