Asian Flare (Easy!) Quinoa Salad

Summer is slowly making its way into Wisconsin’s cool and rainy spring. With the warm weather on its way it’s time to think summer foods—light, crisp, and full of flavor.

Quinoa exploded into the mainstream health food market a couple of years ago, but I’ve honestly been too afraid to try cooking it myself. I was afraid that it would be too complicated and didn’t know what I would even make with it. I finally decided to break down and get over my fear and try to make a quinoa inspired dish. And you know what? It’s SO easy! I’ve found not just one, but two ways to cook this—the second being genius, at least in my mind. As is, this recipe makes enough to feed a small army, or make Sunday night and have for lunch throughout the week. I even ate this with eggs one morning, and tossed it with spinach and shrimp for a tasty dinner.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 cup quinoa (I used Bob’s Red Mill brand, but whatever you use just make sure it has either been rinsed before packaged or rinse it before use.)
2 cups water
¼ tsp. salt
1 ½ cups shelled frozen edamame
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
 (about ½ cup)
½ yellow pepper, diced
½ red pepper, diced
¼ cup onion, diced
2 Tbsp. sesame oil 
(I used toasted to give it a more robust flavor.)
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
3 tsp. fresh ginger, finely minced
 (If you can’t find fresh, or for an even easier solution, find a small jar of finely minced ginger in the Asian section of your grocery store.)
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds

Asian Flare Quinoa Salad

  1. Here’s how I originally cooked the quinoa—place quinoa, water, and salt in a small/medium pot. Cover and heat on high until boiling, lower heat to low, and cook for roughly 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed. (See below for a super easy way to cook your quinoa). Make sure to watch as your quinoa boils so you don’t end up with a mess all over your stove from it boiling over (yes, this happened to me as I was cutting my other ingredients).
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the sesame oil, rice vinegar, minced ginger, and sesame seeds.
  3. In a medium bowl, pour the quinoa and mix in the frozen edamame, carrots, peppers, and onion.
  4. Pour mixture from step 2 over the quinoa and veggies, and mix thoroughly.

Printable recipe

This is great either right away or, as I mentioned above, great the next few days in a variety of ways. The flavors really start to soak in by day 2 and I think is even more delicious that day.

My super secret trick: cook the quinoa in a rice cooker! Use the same portions of quinoa to water. The quinoa turns out perfectly done. My husband actually preferred the quinoa prepared this way compared to the stovetop, you can walk away from it cooking, and cleanup is a breeze—especially when you don’t have that mess from it boiling over on your stovetop. 😉

So don’t be afraid of cooking quinoa like I was because it turns out that it is easy to make, tasty, and can be used in SO many recipes. I’m sure you’ll see another quinoa recipe here soon!

Enjoy!

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