In case you missed the memo, I really, really love salad.
My fondness for salad is so far-reaching, in fact, that it spans entire continents.
Back in Taiwan, even my raging In-N-Out cravings paled in comparison to the longing I felt to wolf down a plate of fresh, raw dark green veggies.
People never understand me when I assert that it’s impossible to find a decent salad in Asia. So now, the salad snob in me speaks: here is Asia’s attempt at salad, straight from the shelves of your local 7-11…
It’s no wonder the Asians aren’t big on salads. They really don’t have much to work with!
To recompense for those ten full months of mediocre salad consumption—and convince the world that salads are diverse, beautiful, and by and large the best meals on earth—I’m showcasing a new salad each week for the next ten months.
To kick it off, this week is quinoa salad!
Did you know? Quinoa isn’t technically a grain, though it sort of looks like it could be one. It’s high in protein and fiber, gluten-free, and has a texture similar to couscous.
To make: Cook the quinoa and let it cool. I’m Chinese, so I busted out my rice cooker and dumped two cups of quinoa seeds in there along with two cups of water. (Sidenote: two cups makes about 6-7 generous servings—it’s a lot!) You can also cook quinoa in a pot over the stove.
Awesome fact: the beauty of salad is that it’s incredibly versatile. I whipped this together using ingredients I already had on hand:
- acorn squash, roasted
- corn, roasted
- purple onion
- feta cheese
- dressing: balsamic vinegar, extra virgin Spanish olive oil, a dash of rice vinegar
- light seasoning: paprika, dried Italian herbs, crushed black pepper
Know what else this salad would taste great with?
- grilled chicken or shrimp
- grilled vegetables of all sorts: asparagus, zucchini, bell peppers
- lime or lemon juice
- butternut squash, roasted
- black beans
- fruit: strawberries, apples, peaches
You get the drift.
Got leftovers? You’re in luck—quinoa keeps well in the fridge.
+ one more thing: This particular salad pairs splendidly with fish—though I may be biased, because I love fish almost as much as I love salad.
The verdict? Quinoa is just a really intimidating, pretentious name for protein. I don’t know the identity of the nut job who came up with the spelling for it, but the pronounciation may surprise you.
Heed my words: do not fear the quinoa (keen-wah). Why do they spell it that way anyway?
Pick up a bag at the grocery store… and watch your salad possibilities unravel before you.
Thank me later ;)