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Sunday Recipe: Greens and grains for a healthy salad

Quinoa has long been a mainstay of healthy cooking and is an important component of vegan cuisine. Quinoa is rich in protein and fiber and has various vitamins and B minerals. Quinoa also is a complete protein, which means it has all of the essential amino acids in the amounts the body needs.

While quinoa is technically not a grain (its grains are the seeds or fruits of cereal grasses), it often is treated as a grain and classified as a “pseudocereal.” Encyclopedia Britannica utilizes that term to describe non-grasses that people consume as if they were traditional grains. The Whole Grains Council even classifies quinoa as a whole grain due to its method of preparation and nutrient profile.

Quinoa can be delicious in many forms and be an alternative to rice, pasta, couscous and other grains in cooking. Try this “Green Quinoa Salad” from Plant-Based Gourmet: Vegan Cuisine for the Home Chef (Apollo) by Frances Gordon.

spinach leaves

Green Quinoa Salad

Makes 6 to 8 servings as a side, or 4 lunch portions

Quinoa mix
12 ounces white quinoa, rinsed and dried
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
Pinch sea salt

3 cups spinach, hand torn
3 stalks celery, diced
1 stalk from a fennel bulb, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 large cucumber, diced with skin left on
1½ avocados, diced
1 medium parsnip, peeled and diced
½ white onion, thinly sliced and chopped
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
¼ cup chopped fresh dill
1 jalapeño, diced (with seeds if more heat desired)
2 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
10 basil leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

½ avocado
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ginger powder

  1. Combine the quinoa and coconut oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring, to gently toast until the color of the grain darkens slightly, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Add the coriander seeds, sea salt, and 4 cups room temperature water and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Uncover and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  3. Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Let the quinoa cool for 15 minutes, then add to the bowl and toss to help wilt the salad greens. Mix well.
  4. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a blender and pulse to combine. Then transfer to a small mason jar or salad dressing bottle with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously until it looks creamy, then toss with the salad.
  5. Let cool at room temperature, then chill for at least 1 hour before serving.
The recipe and photo above were licensed through Metro Creative Graphics.