Quinoa Salad with Pineapple, Broccoli, Mint
Quinoa Salad Recipe with Pineapple, Broccoli and Mint- fresh!
Spring is beckoning. I can feel it. And my winter-stiff body is aching to stretch and move and shed the yearly inertia that descends like a bear with the shrinking daylight. My brain is flickering awake. My taste buds are tiring of the heavy, creamy comfort foods that sustained me (thank you, lovely spuds, lasagna, and mac and cheese, I love you with all my heart).
I'm craving lighter, cleaner tastes.
Not to mention, missing my warm weather jeans. You know the ones. That stack in the back of the closet you haven't fit into since December, when you began wondering if the laundromat medium heat setting was shrinking your favorite Levi's. The jeans you have to lay down to zip, doing your best imitation of Jane Fonda's pelvic tilt, sucking in your breath and praying to the zipper gods. Your skinny jeans. You know what I'm talking about. You have two sets of jeans, right? Winter. And summer.
So here's what I'm thinking. Quinoa to the rescue.
Vegan. Versatile. Easy. Fresh. Light. This new quinoa salad with pineapple and broccoli and fresh mint is all of the above. And maybe, just maybe, it'll be the first step to fitting into those skinny jeans.
Quinoa Salad with Pineapple, Broccoli, and Mint
This light and lively salad is perfect for Spring. Make it for a picnic, or a lovely vegan lunch. I made the dressing mild, but if you prefer it spicy, feel free to add more ginger or some red chili pepper, to taste.
Rinse the quinoa thoroughly in cold water, using a fine sieve. Cook 1 cup quinoa in 2 cups water. I use a rice cooker to do this. Easy peasy.
While the quinoa is cooking, prepare your salad ingredients and make the dressing.
1 cup diced pineapple
2 cups broccoli, blanched *see how to blanch broccoli, below
2 medium carrots, sliced into matchsticks
4 scallions (green onions), sliced
A handful of soybean sprouts (or mung bean sprouts)
A handful of fresh cilantro and mint leaves, rough chopped
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
For the dressing:
1/4 cup pineapple juice
Fresh juice from 1-2 limes
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil or avocado oil
2 tablespoons organic low sodium gluten-free Tamari
1 inch ginger, grated
A dab of agave, to taste
Chopped roasted cashews
When the quinoa is ready, scoop it into a large bowl and fluff it with a fork. Allow it to cool.
Make your dressing.
In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Taste test. If you prefer a dressing that has more fat, add a little more olive oil. Sweeter? Add a touch of agave, to taste. More citrus? Add more lime juice. More of a vinaigrette? Add more rice vinegar. More ginger? You know the drill.
When the quinoa has cooled, pour in the dressing and toss lightly. Add the pineapple, broccoli, carrots, scallions, soybean sprouts, fresh cilantro and mint. Gently combine the ingredients. Taste test for seasoning adjustments. Add some sea salt and pepper, if you desire.
Cover and chill to let the flavors mingle and get happy. Before serving, taste test and adjust seasoning. I usually add a squeeze of fresh squeezed lime juice and a little extra chopped fresh mint leaves before serving.
Cook time: 20 min
Yield: Serves 4
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How to Blanch Broccoli:
Blanching broccoli keeps the color vibrant. It also creates a perfect bite for salads. Tender-crisp. Not soggy.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the broccoli. Boil for 2-3 minutes only. Drain the broccoli and immediately plunge it into a bowl of ice water. When the broccoli is cool, remove and drain well.