Hi, this is Emili, Jenni’s sister. I am always in desperate need for healthy recipes that taste good and help satisfy my sweet tooth! I’ve made this salad for a few different get-togethers with friends and its always been a huge hit!
I’m definitely a picky eater (you mean there are more food groups than cheese, chocolate and eggs out there?) and I’m always on the lookout for healthy recipes my family (and especially I) will like!
This salad was adapted by a friend of mine (thanks Anne) from our local Harmon’s deli, and I’ve further evolved it to fit my tastes. The first time I saw it I was scared to death to even give it a try. Such a random combination of foods that I don’t know if I like, and it just looked so weird.
I took a tiny bit on my plate so as not to offend my friend who so graciously brought it, only to find out it was the most delicious concoction I had sampled in the previous month. I went back for about 6 servings (that might be an exaggerated estimate, or not), and when no one was eating the last couple of bites, I went back for more (did I mention I was pregnant when I discovered this salad?) And after we had licked the bowl clean, I was still left wanting.
Yep, it’s really THAT good. So let’s get down to how you can make some of this yummy happiness for yourself.
Sweet n’ Healthy Quinoa Salad
1 C quinoa
2 C water
1/4 C almonds, chopped
2 C fresh strawberries, diced
1 bell pepper, diced (or 2 halves, different colors)
1/2 C raw pumpkin seeds (or called pepitas-they’re green)
2 C or 1 can corn
2 C (cooked) or 1 can black beans
1/2 C Craisins
Approximately 1/3 C Brianna’s Poppyseed Salad Dressing
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1-2 tsp cumin powder
1/8 tsp ground black pepper, or to taste
This recipe is extremely flexible. If you want you can add various ingredients like the green bell pepper I mentioned earlier, some onions or other types of nuts. And if you’re short an ingredient (I did that once too for a potluck Christmas party last year), don’t worry, people won’t know the difference and it will still taste great!
You may already be familiar with the whole grain. If you’re not, then the first thing you need to learn is how to pronounce it: KEEN – WA. It’s a whole grain, super good for you, high in iron, fiber and amino acids, and it can be dressed up in many different ways.
I had only had quinoa as a hot breakfast cereal with rice milk and brown sugar or vanilla or stevia before encountering this salad. Seeing it in this salad has really opened up my mind to its possibilities! Now, don’t be scared to try something new and different, especially if you’ve never cooked quinoa before. It’s as easy to make as rice and will be a nice healthy change to your normal routine.
Measure out 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of water. (See, just like rice). Bring the water to a boil, add the quinoa and cover the pot. Cook it over medium heat for 12 minutes or until most of the water is absorbed. Don’t overcook it; we want it to be nice and moist. This should give you about 4 cups of quinoa.
First you’ll need about 1/4 cup almonds. We really like to soak almonds in our family. All you do to soak them is put them in a little water for 6-10 hours and they start to absorb the water and plump up like they’re going to sprout.
They are healthier this way too, and softer to eat, but still crunchy. If you have time and can remember details, you can soak your almonds the night before and use those in the recipe. I have done it both ways, but remembering details is definitely not my strong suit. Either way grab your food chopper or a knife and cut them up into smaller chunks.
Next you’ll dice up your strawberries. You want about 2 cups, but more or less is fine.
Next dice up a bell pepper. I did half a red bell pepper and half an orange one this time around. If you like a little contrast to the sweet you can do half of a green bell pepper.
Next measure out about a 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds. These are crunchy and so so so yummy in this salad! You can usually find raw pumpkin seeds in the freezer at your health food store.
Open up your can of corn and black beans. I drain them both, but I rinse out the black beans. Maybe its overkill, but I think rinsing them helps them not be so gassy.
Once your Quinoa
has cooled you can throw it all together in a big bowl with a ½ cup of craisins and some Brianna’s poppy seed dressing. Start with 1/3 cup of Brianna’s dressing and then add more if you feel it is too dry. I’ve never actually measured the dressing, so that’s my best guess on how much you’d need. Last we’ll add a few simple spices.
Add ½ tsp garlic powder, 1-2 tsp of cumin and a few shakes of black pepper (or more if you like black pepper).
That’s it! If you’re artsy and domestic you can decorate the top with strawberries or something to make it look nice. I am really not the domestic type, so here’s the salad without any special decoration.
Although, now that this batch I made is all gone, I’m tempted to make it again so I can make it look extra beautiful and impressive. Maybe next time around…
Feeling adventurous? If you try this recipe, please come back and tell us what you think.