There’s no wrong way to eat (or say) Quinoa


My grocery shopping strike is officially over, after weeks of living off whatever we could find in the pantry until I finally gave in to the sexy siren song of Trader Joe’s.
This salad is a perfect example of how well the make-do-with-what-you-have stint worked out: it’s packed with protein and fiber, and therefore super filling. The fact it’s satisfying and delicious shouldn’t hurt, either.

You could replace the pepitas with toasted slivered almonds or other nuts, the red & black beans with other beans, and add fresh diced tomatoes, cucumber, or whatever crunchy vegetable you prefer. Salads aren’t known for being sticklers for rules anyway.

Not everyone is a fan of onion powder but I had no choice: not only were we out of fresh onion, but also while I love raw onion, raw onion truly has it in for me. Cry me a river.

It might seem odd that the raisins get some cooking action, but it makes them more tender while imparting some of the sweetness to the quinoa as it cooks. If the idea doesn’t appeal, either throw them into the salad as is, or soak them for a few minutes in hot water til plump, then drain them.

I like to use a little extra broth or water (as opposed to the usual 1:2 ratio), cooking the grain pseudocereal uncovered and draining it when ready. It usually takes 12 minutes, and I find I get fluffier results.

I know this method wastes a little bit of water or broth, so if you don’t want to do it like this and choose to go the more traditional way, adjust to 4 cups of liquid for the 2 cups of quinoa and follow the usual cooking guidelines for it. If you do so, I would recommend against adding the raisins along to make sure they don’t hog the water meant for the quinoa.

On a far more important note: like everyone else, I am heartbroken to hear about everything that happened, and is still happening in Japan. There are plenty of vegan bake sales that will be held to help out, so check this out to see if there is one you could support close to where you live.

Protein-Happy Quinoa Salad:

12 ounces (2 cups, or 340 g) prewashed dry quinoa
5 cups (1.2 l) water or low-sodium vegetable broth (see note about this in intro)
1 packed cup (165 g) raisins
1/4 cup (60 ml) apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup (120 ml) olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes, adjust to taste
1 tablespoon onion powder (or 1/4 cup chopped fresh green onions)
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
Pinch sea salt, adjust to taste
Cracked black pepper, adjust to taste, optional
Heaping 1/3 cup (50 g) salted roasted pepitas
4 large carrots, peeled and finely grated
One 15-ounce (425-g) can of red beans, drained and rinsed
One 15-ounce (425-g) can of black beans, drained and rinsed

Bring the broth to a boil. Add the quinoa and cook for 8 minutes. Add the raisins and cook an additional 4 minutes, or until the quinoa is ready.
Drain in a fine mesh sieve. Set aside to cool.

In the meantime, prepare the dressing by combining the vinegar, lemon juice, oil, red pepper flakes, onion powder (or chopped onion), garlic, salt, pepitas, carrots and beans in a large bowl.

Stir the cooked quinoa and raisins into the dressing until well coated. Enjoy immediately or serve chilled. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge, for up to 3 days.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

  • This looks so good (and I love your title for this post)! I used up our quinoa once when we hadn’t gone shopping in a while, too. I’m not sure why it was hanging around for so long, though, because it’s so great and I love eating it! I will definitely have to give this a try, thank you!

    • Celine says:

      I just saw the links you posted for people who want to help Japan but can’t afford to. everyone who’s in this position should click on Eva’s link up there!

  • ebba says:

    love the title! i never know how to say it…

  • Lacey says:

    Om nom nom nom nom. Totally making this without the oil. Maybe chickpea water or some sort of broth will work…we’ll find out!

    • Celine says:

      oil is good. I like oil. yup.

      • Lacey says:

        I do too…but I’ve been a bad, bad vegan (living on bread/pasta/crackers and oils) and I feel gross so I’m doing the McDougall thing for a few weeks to see if I feel better. Well, McDougall plus nuts/avocados. Because I’m not going fat free, just processed oil free :)

        • Celine says:

          aw, we all need to indulge at times, so you haven’t been a bad vegan. but good for you for McDougalling it for a bit so that you feel better.

  • Megan says:

    Celine, how is it that whenever I start mulling over what to do with a specific ingredient in my pantry, you post a recipe that I could totally do without running to the grocery store?
    I’ve been thinking about quinoa for the last few days. <3!

    • Celine says:

      maybe it’s the fact you’ve been starting your recent emails to me with “Dear Quinoa, … “?
      I can take a hint.

  • Mihl says:

    Stop reading my mind*, you! I just looked at the glass jar of quinoa in our pantry yesterday and wondered what to do with it.
    *I mean thank you for this awesome recipe!