Make-ahead, Salads

Asian-Inspired Crunchy Quinoa Salad with Ginger-Peanut Dressing

I don’t think Liam will mind me saying this, because it is true, but I am definitely the more health-minded out of the two of us. I am (obviously) vegetarian, but Liam still eats meat on the odd occasion. I love eating a light and leafy-green salad for my lunch, but Liam likes something more ‘substantial’. This Asian-inspired crunchy quinoa salad has won him over on the salad front. Hoorah!

This main ingredients for this salad are taken from the Ambitious Kitchen. It is not so much about the salad (it is still really good anyway), but the ginger-peanut dressing. I have to say, it is absolutely genius. It really does make everything come together and taste wonderful. Liam and I are HUGE fans.

I do love everything about this salad: the protein-rich quinoa, high-fibre chickpeas and the crunchy red cabbage, pepper and broccoli. It is making me salivate just thinking about it!

The other day, my mother rang me asking if I’d ever eaten ‘Kwi-Noh-Ah’. Of course, I said, but I hastily corrected her pronunciation. I did get it wrong when I first read it though, as I’m sure many of us did. Quinoa is great, though, and is classed as a ‘whole protein’ due to its impressive amino acid content, and it also contains more healthy fats than other grains. Apparently, in 1 cup of quinoa (185g cooked) there is also 21% of your fibre for the day. Bonus!

This really isn’t a complicated recipe. It just requires you to cook the quinoa (which is super easy) and chop up/grate a load of veg. The dressing is made by just stirring a load of things together, and it magically somehow tastes like heaven.  What I imagine heaven would taste like if I believed it to exist and also have a taste, anyway.

This makes around 6 servings, so it is perfect for me to make at the weekend for my lunch during the week. I just keep it in a big bowl in the fridge, covered in cling film, then scoop a portion out into my lunch box every morning. Add a few spinach leaves on the side, a lime wedge and the ginger-peanut dressing, and when I open up my lunchbox to reveal this salad a little smile appears. I love love love it!

This is what you need:

Salad:

1/3 – 1/2 small red cabbage, shredded

1/2 broccoli head, cut into bite-size pieces

1 red pepper, diced

1 small red onion, diced

160g carrots, grated

1/2 cup fresh coriander, roughly chopped

1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed

3/4 cup uncooked quinoa

Dressing:

1/4 cup smooth peanut butter

2 1/2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp honey (or agave)

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp olive oil

1 tsp sesame oil

2 tsp fresh ginger, grated

1 – 2 tbsp water (to thin if you want to)

This is how you make it:

Rinse quinoa in a jug of cold water then drain in a sieve. Place into 1 1/2 cups boiling water over a medium heat and half cover. Cook for approximately 15 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed, stirring occasionally (make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom – if you need a bit more water for it to cook, just add some). When cooked, set aside to cool a little.

While this is cooking, prepare all of the vegetables:

Shred the cabbage by slicing very, very thin slices with a serrated knife. Blanch the pieces of broccoli for 20 seconds by just boiling some water in the kettle and pouring it over the broccoli in a jug/bowl. Rinse under cold water to stop it cooking any more. Grate the carrot, and dice the pepper and onion.

When the quinoa is cooled, mix with the vegetables, coriander and chickpeas.

To make the dressing:

In a pan over a low heat, stir the peanut butter and honey for about 30 seconds. Take off the heat and stir in everything else. If you want, add a small amount of water to thin.

Note: If you smell the dressing, the vinegar will make your nose crease. Taste it, it will be lovely.

Stay happy,

Alice x

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