“Quinoa, quinoa, we all scream for quinoa!” That’s how that chant goes, right? No. Well, maybe it should. If you haven’t tried quinoa yet…. wait who am I kidding – unless you have been living under a rock the past five years we’ve all tried quinoa by now. This gluten free grain (or seed of a grain technically) that is rich in: B vitamins, iron, and zinc has taken the world by storm. Quinoa crackers, quinoa cookies, quinoa burgers…. yep – they all exist. If I’m going to be honest, I’m not in love with quinoa. I know, I know. Why post about a food that I don’t love? And how can I not love this superfood? Don’t get me wrong, I like it okay – but if we were dating I’m not sure quinoa would make it past the first date.
Something that *may* change my mind is this quinoa salad. I had it during the Your Weight Matters Convention and I have to say it was pretty amazing. When I toured the kitchen with Chef Donald (more on that in my next post), I asked him for the recipe for this citrusy, garlicy salad. He zealously obliged, but talked to me like I’m a chef and understand his secret chef language. We all know too well I’m not a chef, I’m a dietitian who grew up on Kraft macaroni and cheese and PB & J. I just barely learned to boil water a few years ago…. back to Chef Donald, I mean I kind of followed along – by feverishly typing notes on my iPhone…. but he used the word “mirepoix” which I spelled mer qua …. because, what’s mirepoix? (Apparently mirepoix is a flavor base of chopped: onions, carrots, and celery used in a variety of dishes)
“Mirepoix” – fancy talk for – carrots / onion / celery
So when I got back to AZ it was time to attempt to recreate this gorgeous salad, that Chef Donald ‘taught’ me how to make. I think I got pretty close, but I would love for fellow attendees to make this and comment below with creative additions! 🙂
Step 1: Prior to cooking quinoa you must rinse it…. don’t skip this step or else whatever you make really will taste like dirt – not so yum.
Another fun thing about quinoa is it has it’s own little built in thermometer, there is no mistaking when it’s ready – the germ from the kernel pops out telling you it’s time to eat!
- 1 Tbs. olive oil + 1 Tbs.
- ½ cup carrots, diced (or shredded)
- ½ cup celery, diced
- ½ onion, diced
- ½ cup rinsed tri-color quinoa
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- ¼ cup walnuts, chopped
- ¼ cup dried cherries, chopped
- Juice from 1 lime
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ tsp honey (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Basil, parsley, or cilantro fresh - chopped (optional)
- Rinse quinoa in colander and let dry while you prepare the other ingredients
- In a large stockpot over medium-high heat add 1 Tbsp olive oil
- Add carrots, celery, onion, salt and pepper. Saute for 3-4 minutes until vegetables are slightly tender
- Add rinsed quinoa and vegetable broth, increase heat to high; bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed.
- Remove pot from heat and fluff quinoa with a fork. Set aside.
- In a small bowl whisk lime juice, garlic, honey (if using). Then drizzle in 1 Tbs. olive oil, whisk.
- Place cooked quinoa in large bowl, add walnuts and dried cherries, add lime juice mixture and stir to combine.
If you are bringing this side dish to a party, you may want to double the recipe. If you are enjoying at home, serve alongside grilled chicken or citrus grilled shrimp. I kept this salad in my refrigerator for a few days and had it literally for breakfast (with eggs on the side), lunch (with homemade chicken soup), and dinner!
Quinoa is a nutritious addition to your meal plan after weight loss surgery. It contains fiber, protein, iron and magnesium – all critical nutrients needed to keep your body healthy after surgery. Make sure to take small bites, and chew this healthy grain well for pouch tolerance.