Easy Sesame Orange Quinoa Salad

Remember that salad I took to a potluck a while ago that had even the girl who “hates this kind of food” asking for seconds?  Well, the recipe is here. That previous post I didn’t actually share the recipe for the salad I took. It was for an Asian green salad instead.  NOW I will share the recipe for the quinoa salad!

Here’s a little tip I’d like to give when eating out.  If you order something totally tasty, take note as to what you are eating.  Maybe you can re-create it at home.  I love to grab menus from restaurants on my way out the door.  It’s a great way to get inspired in my own kitchen.  That being said, this salad was adapted from a “Sesame Orzo Salad”  I picked up at a local natural grocery store in NC before I headed to the airport. (This is also a perfect food to pack for a plane trip)  You know those salads that are pre-packaged at Whole Foods in the deli?  Those are great inspiration!  They usually have the ingredients printed right on the container too.  All you have to do is play around and get the proportions right  when re-creating it at home.

quinoa_salad

This was the ingredient list from the salad I picked up:

  • Orzo

  • Shredded carrots

  • pumpkin seeds

  • raisins

  • parsley

  • scallions

  • garlic

  • ginger

  • orange zest (this was the secret yummy flavor)

  • cider vinegar

  • soy sauce

  • sesame seeds

  • sesame and peanut oil

Here’s my adaptation:

Sesame Orange Quinoa Salad

If you don’t know how to cook quinoa, it is SUPER easy and FAST.  Just like white rice, it’s 2 parts water (or you can use a tad less if you like it drier) to one part quinoa.  Rinse the quinoa really well (otherwise it might taste bitter).  Add it to the water in a pot on the stove and bring to a boil.  Cover, lower heat for about 15 minutes.  I personally use my rice cooker instead and use the “white rice” setting.  *I would make 2 cups dry quinoa and 4 cups water for this recipe and have some leftovers*

1)  Combine cooked quinoa, carrots, pepitas, raisins, parsley, green onions, sesame seeds and kale in a large bowl.

2)  In another bowl or measuring cup, combine garlic, orange juice and orange zest, apple cider vinegar, ginger, sesame oil, olive or neutral oil and soy sauce.  Whisk together and add salt and red pepper.  Taste and adjust to your liking.  (I personally like more acid so I may add more vinegar).

3)  Pour some dressing over salad and mix.  Taste and add more dressing if you’d like.  Serve at room temp or chill.  Is GREAT as leftovers for several days.

Some notes about this recipe:

I chose to add kale because well, kale is delicious.  People who don’t like kale will often like this salad.

I chose quinoa instead of orzo because it’s gluten-free and more nutritious.

You could, by all means, sub chopped almonds or cashews for the pepitas and/or sesame seeds.

You could sub red or yellow bell peppers for the carrots and red onion for the green.

I hope you enjoy this.  I think it’s the perfect salad to take on a picnic, the airplane or to a barbecue gathering.  Happy Spring!

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