Friday, March 28, 2014

California Quinoa Salad

On a recent trip to Minneapolis, I was thrilled to visit Whole Foods, the deli of which is always a highlight of my visit, as I love their salads. (I also love that they let you sample them.) On that particular visit, I fell in love with their California Quinoa salad, made with red quinoa, veggies and fruits and some type of light dressing that tasted guilt-free. Sadly, though, the guilt returned when I saw the price sticker on the pound-and-a-half container when I got it home--$13! I resigned myself to not buying it again (which is easy, since we don't have a Whole Foods where I live) and just enjoying the salad. Then I remembered Pinterest! This recipe is inspired by this pin and this pin.

For a no-nonsense version of this recipe, click here. For the nutrition facts, scroll to the bottom of this post.


3 1/2 cups of vegetable broth (or water)
2 cups uncooked quinoa (I used red; it's pretty!)

1/2 cup dried fruit of your choosing [I switched the pictured raisins out (too old) for Door County cranberries. You could use cherries, too.]

First, put the broth, quinoa, and dried fruit in a saucepan and heat it to boiling over medium heat.

By the way, I didn't have any broth and didn't want to use plain water, so I made my own broth! (So exciting!) All you have to do is throw some veggies (any, really) into a pot of water, season it with salt and pepper, bring it to a boil and simmer for at least an hour, then strain it.

And now, back to our show!  Once the quinoa mixture is boiling, lower the heat and cook (covered) 15-20 minutes or until the water has been absorbed. To be completely honest, after 20 minutes, my quinoa was still a little soupy, but I liked its texture, so I just drained it and moved on.)

While that's cooking, prep the rest of the delicious, healthy ingredients:

2 mangos, peeled and diced (I only used one, but will use two next time.)
1 red pepper, diced
1/4 cup finely-chopped red onion
1 cup shelled edamame
3 tablespoons finely-chopped cilantro
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup sliced almonds (I just chopped mine.)
2 limes (zest and juice)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 orange, peeled, skin removed, and diced (This will be my addition next time.)

Don't let the coconut scare you; I couldn't even taste it.

Do yourself a favor and zest the limes before you cut and juice them! (I forgot.)

To me, the mixture looked like Christmas candy of some kind. Yum...

When the quinoa mixture is somewhat cooled, mix everything together, and voila!

While typing this, I decided I would add another mango and maybe an orange, 
because I have a sweet tooth, but it was delicious, all the same, 
and I'll definitely be making this again.

Serve warm or cold.
Makes about three quarts.

Believe it or not, I had no clue how to cut a mango, 
so I found this video, which made it seem simple.
(Keyword: seem)

P.S. Guessing that this recipe makes 14 cups (one cup per serving), 
I analyzed it via SparkPeople and got the following result:

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