Quinoa Salad + Pomegranate Dressing
This is a delicious healthy summer salad that I designed for the new menu at the healthy chef. I wanted something that was vegetarian friendly and loved the idea of making a tabouli style salad using a little quinoa and lots of fresh parsley, mint and spinach. Technically quinoa is not a grain but a relative of green leafy vegetables like spinach and silverbeet. It’s a complete protein that offers a good serving of all nine essential amino acids as well as macronutrients such as manganese, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus. Before cooking, rinse it well under cold running water, then cook just like rice using 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of water. It should take about 15 – 20 minutes. Once cooked, turn off the heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes if you want to serve straight away, or cool and use as required for this salad. The pomegranate dressing is the hero of this dish in my opinion. It marries wonderfully with the sweet ripe tomatoes, seeds and almond.
Whenever the body is growing, repairing or replacing tissue, protein is involved. Proteins are found in your skin, bones, muscle and all your organ tissue, in addition, they are used to produce hormones, enzymes and hemoglobin that carries oxygen in the body. Think of your body as a high performance sports car, made from quality carbon fiber along with a fine tuned engine. Protein is the manufacturer responsible for building it, forming the structure and strength. It also moonlights as the mechanic, replacing parts and making sure everything runs smoothly. If we don’t get enough protein, the body takes it from your lean muscle and bone which will make you weak and frail and can result in symptoms such as growth failure, loss of muscle mass, a suppressed immune system, hormone depletion and weakness of the heart and respiratory systems. Some great sources are lean grass fed beef, organic chicken, fish, organic eggs, natural yoghurt with live cultures, tempeh, quinoa + almonds.
1 cup cooked quinoa
2 cups parsely chopped
2 cups mint, chopped
2 large handfuls, baby spinach leaves
1 small red onion or 2 shallots, finely sliced
2 Lebanese cumber, chopped
2 ripe tomato, chopped or 250 g cherry tomatoes
20 g pumpkin seeds
20 g almonds or pistachio, chopped
20 g goji berries
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 lemon juiced + zest (30 ml)
2 teaspoons honey
100 ml cold pressed olive oil
fresh ground pepper
Combine all the dressing ingredients until creamy. Taste and check it should be lovely.
Mix together parsley, mint, spring onion and spinach.
Add the tomato, cucumber, seeds, quinoa and almonds.
Mix in a few tablespoons of the dressing.
Spoon into a large serving bowl and enjoy.
Have extra dressing on the side in case you need more.
NOTE: to increase protein content this salad is delicious with a dollop of natural yoghurt, white fish, chicken or tempeh.
Protein: 5 g
Carbs: 10 g
Total fat: 8.3 g
Saturated: 0.9 g
Fiber: 4.4 g