Thai Quinoa Salad


Oh the things you can do with Quinoa!  I've had so many good quinoa salads that friends have made or at restaurants, that I decided to start making notes and keep a personal list of quinoa salad ideas handy.  Once I grasped the concept that you start with quinoa, then add whatever you have in your refrigerator, then add whatever dressing you are in the mood for, I started experimenting and making notes of some of my favorites.  I have a list - so you will see quinoa again!! 

For me a grain free diet is what makes my body most happy.  Quinoa is a grain that has remained in my menu planning tho, knowing that it is healthy and a good source of protein and fiber, but if you are following a strict paleo diet, you may find information that is controversial about whether or not quinoa should be part of your diet.  And if you are celiac, you may want to become familiar with the concepts behind quinoa - Effects of Eating Quinoa in Celiac Patients

Its such a great summertime salad, very versatile, and healthy.  In contrast, if I were to eat a bowl of pasta salad containing all the same added veggies and dressing, my stomach would not be happy!  So try that favorite pasta salad recipe using quinoa instead!  This recipe is one with a Thai twist, and appropriate for this time of year if you have a garden and are wondering what to do with all that cabbage! 

2 cups cooked quinoa
2 cups thin sliced cabbage
1 cup chopped cilantro
2/3 cup shredded carrot
1 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 Tbl finely chopped sweet onion or green onion
2 Tbls toasted sesame seeds and/or sunflower seeds

1 cloved garlic, minced or crushed
1/4 cup light olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp rice vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste

Whisk together the dressing and set aside.  Combine the salad ingredients then toss with the dressing and you are done!  Serve this as a side, or add sliced grilled chicken breast on top for a complete meal.  More quinoa ideas to come - enjoy!!