Quinoa Summer Salad

I didn’t want to go food shopping yesterday. Neither did I the day before. And now it’s Sunday, the stores are closed and I’m hungry. “Great”, I thought. But then I remembered we have a whole pantry full of rice, pasta and other stuff that doesn’t go bad. As the temperatures here in Vienna have been a constant 30º Celcius (86º Fahrenheit) I definitely wasn’t about to make myself a huge bowl of hot spaghetti (unless I wanted to lie in bed afterwards, unable to move). Instead I found a box of quinoa my mom gave me once because she said she doesn’t like it at all. Maybe she’ll change her mind after trying this simple, yet very refreshing quinoa salad.

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Quinoa – by the way – is a very old grain crop that was first domesticated by Andean peoples 3.000 to 4.000 years ago. It’s a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal as it is not a member of the true grass family and related to amaranth. Quinoa is high in protein, magnesium and iron and contains all essential amino acids. Plus: it’s gluten-free, which means that even our friends with celiac disease can eat it. Awesome, right? By the way: Did you know that the United Nations General Assembly declared 2013 as the International Year of Quinoa in order to draw attention to the role quinoa could play in providing food security and poverty eradication in support of achieving the Millenium Development Goals? I have to warn you: I’m not into giving you exact quantities in my recipes, especially not when posting about things like salads, because everybody has a slightly different taste.


Ingredients

quinoa (it really depends on how hungry you are)
tomatoes
cucumber
pumpkin seeds
parsley
lemon juice
olive oil
(seasoned) salt
pepper


  1. Start by washing your quinoa with hot water to remove any saponin (tastes bitter).
  2. Bring water to a boil. Remember to use enough water as quinoa absorbs quite a bit of liquid. I’m a lazy person. That’s why I just boil about a liter of water, salt it, throw the quinoa in for about 15 minutes and drain it when it’s ready. You could, however, measure 1 part quinoa and add 2 parts water (haven’t tried that, though).
  3. Cut the tomatoes and cucumber into small pieces and add to the quinoa.
  4. Throw in some pumpkin seeds (you can roast them for a few minutes in a pan if you like).
  5. Chop a small handful of parsley or as much as you want and add to the salad.
  6. Drizzle olive oil (be generous!) and freshly squeezed lemon juice over the mixture.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Mix well and enjoy!

I love this salad as you can take it to the next picknick or potluck easily, it’s super simple to make and the lemon juice makes it so refreshing you won’t want to eat anything else on a hot summer day.

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