Summer is filled with family get-togethers and friends coming over for barbecues. Anytime you need a quick and easy side dish for your own guests or to bring to a neighbor, break out this recipe, from Once Upon A Chef. The combination of the “supergrain,” veggies, and Asian-flavored vinaigrette is the perfect companion to any meal and can be made ahead–it’s actually even better when it’s made in advance and the flavors have a chance to really come together.
Thai Quinoa Salad with Fresh Herbs and Lime Vinaigrette
(recipe & image from Once Upon A Chef)
For the Salad:
1 cup quinoa, rinsed (or pre-washed)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 red bell pepper, cut into bite-sized strips
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 English cucumber, seeded and diced
2 scallions, white and green parts, finely sliced
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh chopped mint or basil (optional)
For the Dressing:
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, from 3-4 limes
2-1/2 teaspoons Asian fish sauce
1-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (use less if you don’t like heat)
Add quinoa, salt and 1-2/3 cups water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is cooked. You’ll know it is done when the little “tails” sprout from the grains. (If necessary add 1-2 tablespoons more water if the quinoa is not cooked by the time all the liquid is absorbed.) Transfer to a serving bowl and let cool in the refrigerator.
In the meantime, make the dressing by combining the lime juice, fish sauce, vegetable oil, sugar and crushed red pepper flakes in a medium bowl. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved.
Once the quinoa is cool, add the red bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, scallions, fresh herbs and dressing. Toss well, then taste and adjust seasoning with more salt, sugar and lime juice if necessary (I usually add a bit more of all). Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. This salad keeps well for several days in the fridge.
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