I grew up in Bolivia and quinoa was always a normal staple for us. We ate it steamed like rice, as porridge, in soups and in a sort of cakey bread (pastel de quinoa). It is not until recently – and by that I mean maybe 10 years ago – that I started making salads with it. Quinoa was a very important meal for the Incas and is dubbed the ‘golden grain of the Andes’. It is considered a super food and is very high in protein, iron and manganese. It is also free of sodium and cholesterol and contains all 9 essential amino acids the body needs. Quinoa has a nutty, earthy flavor to it. It contains saponins that are released during cooking and will make it bitter; therefore, quinoa must be washed and rinsed thoroughly – a good 3 to 4 times – in order to prevent bitterness. However, most quinoa sold in the US has already had the saponins removed during processing. When you cook it the solid grains become transparent with an exterior ring. This cereal has an ever-growing popularity around the world and is easier and easier to find at your local grocery store.
3 cups cooked quinoa – cold
1 cup cherry tomatoes or 2 medium ripe, red tomatoes chopped
½ small red onion – finely sliced
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
1 TBS fresh thyme leaves
2 TBS capers – drained
4 TBS extra virgin olive oil
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
Mix the quinoa with the tomatoes, onion, parsley, thyme and capers.
In a separate bowl, mix the olive oil and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add to salad and toss to coat well. Refrigerate for about 1 hour before serving. Enjoy!
CALORIES 308.05; FAT 16.40 grs (sat 1.91; mono 9.9; poly 1.53); PROTEIN 7.06 grs ; FIBER 5.27 grs; CARBS 34.69 grs; CHOLESTEROL 0.00 mg; IRON 2.89 mg; SODIUM 433.89 mg; CALCIUM 44.9 mg