Those of you follow me on Instagram know that I have taken up a #30daysofsalad challenge.I find that easier to do this than cut out bad food from my diet-aka sugar, carbs etc.It’s especially difficult when I am testing cookie recipes and running behind a suddenly mobile baby.Oh those days when he used to be exactly where I left him 5 minutes back!
This salad is Salad#5 of the challenge.It’s very minimalistic in its ingredients but the multiple textures make this salad a tantalising affair.
What is Quinoa / Kinwa
Quinoa is an ancient South American grain which has recently gained popularity in the health food circuit because of its high nutrient density.Its been hailed as a super grain though its not really a grain at all but seeds from a plant.The correct pronunciation is “kinwa”.It is a close relative of buckwheat or kuttu as we call it in india.
Health Benefits of Quinoa
It’s gluten free and has all the 9 essential amino acids making it more than two times the protein content ,when compared to rice and barley.It also has anti inflammatory properties and a very low GI index which means it’s digested very slowly and hence great for people with diabetes. It is also very high on dietary fibre , compared to other grains.
The black quinoa is from Healthy Buddha Organic.It’s an organic online food delivery website operating in Bangalore.They have an amazing array of perishable and non perishable organically grown food products so do check it out if you are in Bangalore.
How to Cook Quinoa( Kinwa)
Quinoa needs to be washed well before any kind of cooking to remove the bitter outer layer.You can toast it, powder it, boil it and bake with it too.
The quinoa should be cooked in boiling water for about 25-30 minutes till its cooked but retains its bite.That’s the best texture for salads because who likes pasty goop in salads?!The wonderful bite of black quinoa contrasts so well with the custardy roasted butternut pumpkin.If you cant find black quinao where you live, Regular quinao,cous cous,broken wheat(Dalia) are also some great options.
Butternut pumpkin is my favourite in the pumpkin family.I pick it up every time I see it in a store.It remains fresh in the fridge for long and has endless possibilities.I have made pastas and laksas with this in the past and I love it!You could definitely try normal pumpkin too but butternut pumpkin tends to be sweeter and creamier than the usual varieties.If you are a pumpkin nonbeliever then any soft vegetable like sweet potato will also work in this salad.
The dressing is a simple vinaigrette with half a lime juice, mint leaves and Olive oil.This spartan dressing elevates a simple salad to something you could serve at a nice dinner party.
Serves: 2 servings
- ¼ Cup Quinoa
- ½ Cup Pumpkin
- 1 tsp Olive Oil
- 1 Lime-Juiced
- Salt to Taste
- Hand-full Mint Leaves-Divided
- Hand-full Pecans or Walnuts
- Cut the Pumpkin in cubes.Roast it in the oven at 180 degrees for 25 minutes till soft.
- Boil the quinoa in water till its fluffy but the crunch remains.Around 20 minutes on medium heat.
- Drain the water and let it cool.
- In a bowl, mix in the oil, lime juice, salt.
- Take about 10 mint leaves.Cut it into thin strips.Add to the vinaigrette.
- Toss the quinoa together with the pumpkin and left over mint leaves.
- Spoon in the dressing from the top.
- Garnish with Pecans or walnuts and serve
Variations of Quinoa Pumpkin Salad
This butternut pumpkin can be replaced with any number of tubors -Red sweet potato, red pumpkin and roasted carrots would go wonderfully with quinoa.
If your local grocery doesn’t stock black quinoa, you can use white or red quinoa with similar effect.In case you live in such a place where quinoa is not available, you can substitute it with broken wheat or millets.