Thursday, July 9, 2015

Quinoa salad with Thai peanut dressing

Okay, so what isn't good with Thai peanut sauce?! Slathered on soba noodles or grilled chicken perhaps? How about swirling some of that yummy peanut sauce over a bed of good-for-you protein rich quinoa and crunchy veggies and cashews? This colorful salad has been floating around the blogs-osphere and Pinterest for a few years now, and I got a chance to taste a version of it when my cousin Jean brought a big bowl of it to the annual 4th of July party. Delicious!

Prep all of the ingredients beforehand, 
then combine them at the last moment to
keep this salad crisp.

Salad Ingredients:
¾ cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups purple cabbage, shredded or thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, diced or juliennned
½ purple onion, diced or in long half moons
¼ cup green onions, diced
1 cup carrots diced, shredded, or juliennned
½ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
½ cup cashew halves or peanuts 
Fresh lime to squeeze over 

Thai peanut dressing ingredients:
¼ cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon honey (or agave nectar)
3 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon dried chili peppers
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
2 tablespoons water

Cook quinoa—Rinse quinoa under running cold water in fine mesh strainer (this helps get out that bitter outer coating). In a medium saucepan, bring 1 ½ cups of water to a boil. Add in quinoa and bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed all of the water. Remove from heat, place in large bowl and mix with a few tablespoons of the peanut dressing. Use as much or as little of the peanut dressing as you desire. I go light and add a bit more over the entire salad later.

Veggies—Cut and prep all your veggies while your quinoa is simmering away.

Thai peanut dressingAdd peanut butter and honey to a medium microwave safe bowl and heat in microwave for 20 seconds. Add in soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame and coconut oils, chili peppers, and freshly grated ginger, and stir until mixture is smooth and creamy. Then stir in a water to thin a bit.

Assemble saladIn a big bowl, or individual salad bowls, add in purple cabbage red pepper, purple onion,  carrots, and cilantro, and finally, the quinoa. Mix the salad, drizzle a little more dressing on top, then garnish with the cashews and green onions. Serve chilled (or at room temperature) with lime wedges. A splash of lime really brightens and balances the flavors of the heavy peanut sauce.

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