Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spicy Quinoa Cucumber Tomato Salad

I've been so good about continuing my healthy eating while down here in Florida and planning things to make. I looked this up this morning and whipped it up in about 20 minutes, all ready for lunch. I loved it and so did my sister-in-law's mom, Donna. Debbie is doing Atkins so planned her lunch and everyone else got McDonald's! I will definitely make this again, so wanted to share it here. It was from the New York Times.

photo from New York Times
Spicy Quinoa Cucumber Tomato Salad
serves 6


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 3 cups water
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cups diced cucumber
  • 1 small red onion, finely minced (optional)
  • 2 cups finely diced tomatoes
  • 1 to 2 jalapeƱo, seeded if desired and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus several sprigs for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 avocado, sliced, for garnish
NOTE: I also added in some feta cheese, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.
  1. Place the quinoa in a bowl, and cover with cold water. Let sit for five minutes. Drain through a strainer, and rinse until the water runs clear. Bring the 3 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add salt (1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon) and the quinoa. Bring back to a boil, and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer 15 minutes or until the quinoa is tender and translucent; each grain should have a little thread. Drain off the water in the pan through a strainer, and return the quinoa to the pan. Cover the pan with a clean dishtowel, replace the lid and allow to sit for 10 minutes. If making for the freezer, uncover and allow to cool, then place in plastic bags. Flatten the bags and seal.
  2. Meanwhile, place the finely diced cucumber in a colander, and sprinkle with salt. Toss and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Rinse the cucumber with cold water, and drain on paper towels. If using the onion, place in a bowl and cover with cold water. Let sit for five minutes, then drain, rinse with cold water and drain on paper towels.
  3. Combine the tomatoes, chiles, cilantro, vinegar, lime juice and olive oil in a bowl. Add the cucumber and onion, season to taste with salt, and add the quinoa and cilantro. Toss together, and taste and adjust seasonings. Serve garnished with sliced avocado and cilantro sprigs.

Advance preparation: The quinoa freezes well, and the assembled salad will keep for a day in the refrigerator. The leftovers will be good for a couple of days.

Nutritional information:
 per serving: 236 calories; 14 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 25 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams dietary fiber; 12 milligrams sodium (does not include salt added during cooking); 6 grams protein


  1. This looks fantastic, Jackie and perfect for summer--or 90+ degree spring days. Just one question: I wonder why they suggest submerging a red onion in water for 5 minutes. Does it change the texture or is it to mellow out the flavor? Seems like 5 minutes isn't long enough to do either of those two things. Just curious. ~Bob

  2. I actually didn't do that part myself when I made it, but what I've read is that it leaches sulfur out of the onion, into the water, which takes the bite out of the red onion and makes it more mellow. I like red onion in dishes like this though and didn't find that not doing it make it overpowering or anything.