Thai-Style Quinoa Salad

This savory and sweet salad is perfect as a main dish or served with greens and fruit or vegetables.  I served it with a mix of greens and some fresh mango that I’d just gotten from the local farmer’s market.  There’s a variety of fresh vegetables you could use in this salad besides carrot, cucumber, and onion.  I would just use the freshest vegetables you have from the farmer’s market.  If you use tomatoes, they should be deseeded, just as the cucumber was.  And I would stick with cherry or grape tomatoes for this recipe, if you decide on using them.  The dressing is really what makes this salad super delicious, and tweaking that to suit your own tastebuds is what’s important.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups cooled and cooked quinoa

3 grated carrots

4 large pickling cucumbers (my favorite, but you could use English), peeled and deseeded

6 green onions, finely chopped

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 tsp Kosher salt

1/2 tsp coarse-grind pepper

4 limes, squeezed

3 tsp tamari or soy sauce

1 tbsp EVOO

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp rice vinegar

about 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (less or more, to taste)

METHOD

Mix the quinoa with all the ingredients up to an including the salt and pepper.  If you want to add other fresh, crunchy chopped vegetables, I would choose bell peppers, corn, fresh peas, or snap peas.   It’s a matter of choice, but the ones I listed are the ones I used.  For the dressing, mix the squeezed lime juice (should yield about 1/4 cup), and add the remaining ingredients.  Taste it to see if you need to add more acid (rice vinegar or lime), or more sesame oil.  If you want it more sweet and sour, adjust the tamari or soy sauce to suit your taste.  I absolutely loved the dressing by the time I was done tweaking it to my taste. Add it to your quinoa mixture, a little at a time as you mix.  You may not want to use it all, and instead serve some on the side to pour over the quinoa salad and whatever else you are serving it with.  I garnished it with a little mint from my garden.ThaiQuinoaSalad

Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Quinoa Veggie Patties

VeggieSweetPotato

These veggie patties outdo any others I’ve made thus far.  I’ve been trying for a few years to come up with a hearty, healthy, protein-packed, flavorful veggie patty, and this one is as close as it gets.  The beautiful thing about this is that you can tweak and change up the ingredients to flavor it to your palate’s delight.  I don’t like heat, so I omit chilis and spicy pepper.  But I do love garlic, onion, and Indian spices A LOT.  I didn’t add any garlic to these patties this time, but next time I will add some.  I made one batch, and froze a batch of two patties per baggie.  They are very firm, and the texture is much like that of a regular meat patty, so they hold up very well in a bun like a regular meat hamburger.  These would be great done on a grill, too, atop a grill pan.  So, here we go.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup precooked and cooled red quinoa

2 cups mashed baked sweet potatoes (skins removed)

1 cup black beans (homemade or canned/drained/rinsed)

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped very finely

1 cup finely diced green onion

3 tsp. cumin

2 tsp. smoked paprika

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. coarse-grind pepper

METHOD

Preheat oven to 350. Wash and bake the sweet potato on a parchment-lined baking sheet for about 45 minutes (or until soft).  Remove and set aside to cool before pulling the skin off.  Meanwhile, cook the quinoa according to the package directions.  Be sure to rinse the quinoa in water a few times before cooking to remove the residue.  The water should come out clean before you begin cooking them.  Chop up your green onions, and walnuts (if you care to add some garlic, chop that up, too), set all aside in a small bowl.  Remove the skins from the sweet potatoes once they’re cool enough, and mash them into a large mixing bowl.  Mash the rinsed and well-drained beans into to the sweet potato mix, leaving some whole.  Add the rest of the ingredients, and mix all very well.  Lightly grease a baking sheet with EVOO, and shape the patties into rounds (about 1/4 cup each), and place them on the sheet.  When done with all of them, turn them over and flatten them to your desired thickness (adjust baking time according to thickness).  By taking this extra step to turn them over, both the bottom and the top of the patties will have some light oil coating that will produce a nice brown crispness to the outside.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes, then turn.  Bake another 20-25 minutes, depending on how thick you’ve made your patties.  They should be firm and nicely browned before you remove them from the oven.  Let cool, and serve in a bun or with vegetables, or just with fruit.

I made some of my homemade guacamole, and then used the patties as the “bun” for the guacamole.  Along with that, I had some vegetables and fruit.  Really worth making, and as I said earlier, you can freeze them in singles or doubles.  This recipe made about 20 patties.