Introduction: Quintessential Quinoa Salad

This salad is so good (it's even better if you let it sit to develop flavours) and good for you (quinoa, ginger, onions, and garlic are superfoods), that you can go back for seconds with a clean conscience- and believe me, you will!

I got the original recipe from a friend at a potluck, but I have made some changes to make it vegan friendly, more healthy, and even tastier.

Step 1: Ingredients

3 cups uncooked quinoa

3 cups broth for cooking quinoa (I use vegetable or mushroom broth, non-vegetarians may use chicken)

3 cups salted water for cooking

8 green onions – separate the white end from the green and dice both finely

1 fresh lemon -use the zest, juice, and pulp

1-2 inches fresh ginger- finely grated

½ - 1 Tbsp. garlic, minced

olive oil – roughly 2 parts oil to 1 part lemon juice

1 cup roughly chopped cilantro

1 to 1 ½ finely diced bell peppers. (I like to mix a few different colours of peppers.)

1 basket grape tomatoes, halved

½ to ¾ English cucumber, diced

salt and pepper to taste (if you are concerned about too much salt, you can add some rice vinegar to the dressing to reproduce the taste with less sodium)

Step 2: Directions

Rinse quinoa well. This step is important to remove bitterness. Cook quinoa in the broth and salted water for about 20 minutes. (For stronger flavour, reduce the water and increase the broth- just keep the liquid:quinoa ratio at 2:1). Fluff and let cool (to cool faster, you can spread it on a cookie sheet).

While quinoa cools, make the dressing for salad by combining together the white ends of green onion, juice and pulp from the lemon, finely minced lemon zest, olive oil, ginger, garlic, and salt & pepper to taste. Shake or whiz in a bullet blender and let marinate. If it is too thick, you can play with the amounts of oil and lemon juice to your taste. *Salt is important for a balanced flavor- but if you dislike using too much salt, I've successfully added rice vinegar to the dressing to get a similar "tanginess".

If you plan to serve your salad the same day, put quinoa into a large mixing bowl and add cilantro, green onion (dark ends), tomatoes, cucumber and peppers, additional S &P to taste and serve. If you want to make your salad a day or so ahead of time, combine everything, except tomatoes and cucumbers. Allowing quinoa and dressing to rest in the refrigerator together is never a bad plan.

My family doesn't mind the tomatoes and cucumber getting a little soggy and we eat it the next day too. Sometimes we add snap peas and other veggies too, to get more crunch. Feel free to add any veggies you like.

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