Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is one of those grains that has grown hugely in popularity in recent years with advocacy of its nutritional value and health properties. An excellent wheat-free alternative to other grains it works really well as the base of a salad.
There are a couple of very simple processes to remember when cooking quinoa to get the best out of it and these make all the difference. The first one is that many recipes and instructions for quinoa recommend 1 part quinoa to 2 parts liquid. I personally think this is too much liquid and produces a slightly unappealing sogginess to the end result. One and a half times the volume of liquid to the weight of quinoa (e.g. 200g quinoa, 300ml liquid) gives a much better consistency at the end. Try it out and I promise you’ll see improved results.
One essential element is to rinse your quinoa beforehand. Quinoa has a natural coating called saponin that produces a bitter aftertaste. Put your quinoa into a fine mesh sieve and rinse under a running tap for less than 1 minute to easily counteract this. You can also cook quinoa with boiling water but I think that stock adds a nice flavour that helps the overall dish. This is a very flexible salad so feel free to try out different combinations of flavours e.g some crumbled feta cheese, and/or the addition of diced avocado could easily bulk this salad up as an option for lunch during the week. Slight word of warning, if you’re planning on preparing this in advance to store in the fridge hold back on the avocado and add fresh as you need it as avocado can go brown and mushy fairly quickly.
Serves 6-8 as a side dish or 4 as a main course for lunch