Quinoa, parsley and pepper salad
This is a very easy vegan main dish that's as pretty as a picture. It's packed with protein from the quinoa, and all kinds of good vitamins and such from the parsley and peppers. It also holds up in the refrigerator for a few days, since the lemon juice, salt and oil help to keep it fresh tasting. I made a fairly large batch and ate it over the course of a week! You can also play with the base and add things like chopped up olives, cooked beans, cheese (vegan or not), flaked canned tuna and so on. It is inspired by a recipe in Saisai Lunch; the original recipe uses okara instead of quinoa, and uses the salad as a topping on a bed of rice. I think my quinoa version, which is designed to be eaten on its own and not as a rice topping, is just as nice if not (dare I say) more so.
Recipe: Quinoa, Parsley and Pepper Salad
You can double, triple or more the recipe very easily. This makes about 4 cups of salad.
- 1 cup (220ml) dry quinoa (= about 3 cups of cooked quinoa)
- 2 cups (440ml) water
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 1 large red or yellow sweet pepper
- 2 small hot red chili peppers
- 1 garlic clove
- olive oil for cooking
- 1 large bunch parsley (to produce about 1 1/2 cups chopped and loosely packed into your measuring cup)
- 2 to 3 Tbs. lemon juice (start with 2 and add more to your taste)
- 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- dash soy sauce
- salt, pepper
To cook the quinoa: Rinse it briefly under running water, then put into a pot with the 2 cups of water and the vegetable stock cube. Bring to a boil, then put on a lid and lower the heat. Let cook for about 15 minutes until the water is almost all gone. Take off the heat and let rest with the lid on for about 5 minutes. Drain off any excess water (there shouldn't be much at all) by putting the quinoa in a sieve or colander and shaking. Put into a bowl to cool down.
In the meantime, chop up the sweet peppers; de-seed and chop up the chili pepper. Finely chop the garlic clove. Sauté the vegetables with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt, until the vegetables are limp. Take off the heat.
Chop the parsley up finely.
Combine the dressing ingredients and mix in well with the quinoa. Add the cooked vegetables. Add the parsley (you should add it when the quinoa is not hot any more, to preserve the bright green color) and mix well.
Taste, and add a little more salt, pepper or lemon juice as you see fit.
This keeps well in the refrigerator, well covered.
Nutritional information (approximate)
Per cup (about 210g): 350 calories, 12g fat, 9g protein, 47g carbohydrates, lots of fiber and vitamins A, C, K and more
Parsley is a very nutritious food, with more goodness in it than most green vegetables. Don't just use it as a garnish - put tons of it into soups, stews, salads and so on.
The vegetable stock cube and the soy sauce add a bit of umami, which perks up the bland flavor of quinoa quite a bit.
If you are a quinoa fan, this quinoa kedgeree is also recommended, though for bento make sure the fish is cooked through.