Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday Food Post - Make-ahead Quinoa Salad with Cucumber, Tomato and Herbs

This salad has a dressing that is nice and light and had only two ingredients, red wine vinegar and olive oil. I found it here.

Make-ahead Quinoa Salad with Cucumber, Tomato and Herbs

Serves 4 to 6 people

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes


1 cup Quinoa

1 pint grape tomatoes, split into quarters 
1 large cucumber, seeds removed , cut into 1/2 inch pieces
Kosher salt to taste
2 small shallots, minced
1/2 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh mint leaves
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine Quinoa and 2 cups of water in a small saucepan.  

Bring to a boil, stir, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 7 minutes.  

Shut off heat and let rest until water is absorbed, about 5 minutes longer.

Transfer Quinoa to a fine mesh strainer and rinse until cold water until thoroughly chilled.

Let drain for 10 minutes.

While Quinoa cooks, combine tomatoes and cucumbers in a colander set in the sink.

Season with the Kosher salt to taste and toss to coat.

Let drain in sink until ready to combine with Quinoa.

In a large bowl, toss drained Quinoa, drained tomatoes, cucumbers, shallots, parsley, mint, olive oil and red wine vinegar.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.  

Serve immediately or, for the best flavor, let rest overnight in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Salad can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

What did we think of this recipe?  Very enjoyable and it is a pretty salad served with your main meal.  

My two major test-tasters were Gregg and his Dad and they were good sports for trying something relatively new to our palate.  

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) isn't something that I have used very often, in fact maybe only once before, but I like the texture and knowing how good it is for a person, that went a long way for me to try it.  On this page I read that Quinoa was an important crop for the Inca Empire, and that they referred to it as the "mother of all grains", believed to be sacred.  It actually isn't a grain but is a seed that is prepared and eaten similarly to a grain.  It has been consumed for thousands of years in South America but since it reached a 'superfood' status several years ago, it has become very trendy.

I changed three of the ingredients by replacing the shallots with green onions and the fresh mint with fresh basil.  I also used an English (Hothouse) cucumber which I prefer.  You don't have to remove the seeds in those either.

Added note: I made this dish again a while later.  I was curious what it would be like using Orzo pasta.  I replaced the Quinoa with the Orzo.  It was again delicious. This time we added a couple of slices of crusty bread, thinly sliced Dubliner cheese and Branston chutney, which made a semi English Ploughman's supper.  

Here is a photo of the salad with the pasta.  


  1. Well, doesn't that all look just yummy!

  2. It is lovely and jewel-like. So quinoa is really a seed, this really surprised me. I had thought it was a grain. You can tell I have never had it before. But I do use orzo quite a bit. I wonder why quinoa was never popular until recent times? I guess we are getting more international as time goes on...

  3. every time you post food pics i spend time trying to figure out why my food pics are not this good, it shows every grain of rice and all the details in the salad... super photos..

  4. Yay for salads. And an ignorant question. Does Kosher salt taste different? (says the woman who doesn't add salt to anything these days...)

  5. This is definitely a Florida recipe! We eat a lot of salads there. The second version would be our whole meal (with the cheeses).

  6. i love when we talk food!! very pretty both ways!!!!

  7. My daughter has long touted the health benefits of quinoa. This looks extremely beautiful and tasty. Thank you!

  8. Your "semi-English" ploughman dinner with orzo sounds interesting. I have used orzo in soups, but am no fan of this noodle.

    However, I love quinoa. Use it probably once per month in something, often a salad much like yours....good with cukes and fresh tomato. Very good if you are diabetic as it is a complex carb. In fact, I got my recipe from 'Diabetic Living' mag.

    I grow several kinds of parsley and cilantro (Chinese parsley) in herb pots. Quinoa also makes a nice breakfast cereal.

  9. Come to think of it, I've never tried quinoa.

  10. Looks delicious. Certainly worth trying