The star of this quinoa salad is the unique nutty flavor of red quinoa (aka Peru’s “gold of the Incas”), alongside other distinctly Peruvian flavors like corn, pumpkin seeds, and avocado. They come together with a tangy lime cilantro dressing for a flavorful main dish quinoa salad. This salad makes a protein-packed meal, especially satisfying when topped with a perfectly fried egg. This meal could be enjoyed morning, noon, or night, or even as a great side dish at a party.
To achieve an authentically Peruvian flavor, toast the quinoa before boiling.
Beyond the fame of Machu Picchu, Peru is also well known for its abundance of healthy food. From quinoa to cacao, many superfoods come from this region because of its diverse microclimates. This red quinoa salad features those distinct flavors and is a great intro to cooking with quinoa. This grain is a great healthy substitute for white rice, as it has twice as much protein and contains about 5 grams more in fiber.
For the quinoa salad:
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups water
1 cup corn (fresh or frozen)
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small cucumber
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
½ a bell pepper,
¼ cup red onion
¼ cup mild queso fresco
1/2 small chilli, deseeded and finely sliced (*optional)
2 green onions, outer leaves removed and diced.
1 ripe but firm avocado
½ a cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
¼ cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
For the dressing:
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice plus more to taste
¼ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
¼ cup avocado oil (or mild olive oil)
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
Toast the quinoa in a small saucepan over medium heat, until fragrant. Then add water, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 12 to 15 minutes. When the quinoa is done, the water should be evaporated from the pan and the quinoa should be tender and fluffy like rice. Once cooked, remove the lid, fluff with a fork, and set aside to cool to room temperature.
While your quinoa is cooking, begin by chopping all additional vegetables in relatively uniform 1-inch cubes and placing in a large mixing bowl.
Make the dressing by combining lime juice, cilantro, avocado oil, cumin, salt, and pepper and blitzing with a hand or table top blender until it is emulsified. Pour ½ of the dressing over the chopped veggies and toss to marinate. Then add the cooled quinoa to the bowl, cover with remaining dressing, and toss well until all ingredients are combined and evenly dressed.
Set the salad aside to marinate 30 minutes to overnight.
When you are ready to serve, take out a small cast iron skillet or non-stick pan. Heat 1 teaspoon on oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot add 1 to 2 eggs to the pan, leaving plenty of space between them. Shake your pan occasionally and using a spatula, lift up the edges as needed. Cook the eggs until the edges are golden brown, about 2 minutes.
Serve up 6 bowls of quinoa salad (approximately 1 cup per bowl) and gently place your perfectly cooked egg on top of each salad. Garnish with fresh additional cilantro and green onion and serve.
Makes 6 servings.
NUTRITION FACTS (PER SERVING):
Protein: 15 g
Total fat: 28 g
Saturated fat: 5 g (25% DV)
Cholesterol: 190 mg
Carbs: 33 g
Fiber: 6 g
Total sugars: 5 g
Added sugars: 0 g
Sodium: 310 mg (13%)
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.