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Cold Quinoa Salad with creamy balsamic dressing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                     The weekend was busy as always. We spent the Saturday at Bounce-O-Rama with mommies and kids I met through Facebook mommy group. It was a real pleasure to meet with mommies who speak the same language. The kids had a lovely time bouncing in the play area and mommies enjoyed chatting. I ate a lot of food that day. Fresh pastries and bun from Anderson Bakery for lunch followed by fried chicken and finally lamb biryani for dinner. So this week must involve lot of physical activity and clean eating. I engulfed myself into too much that I reached a point where  a simple salad is all what I need.

Though the recipe for salads are simple, I feel that getting a right balance in flavor is key. I started off by pressure cooking white quinoa. I added 2 cups of water for 1 cup quinoa. Please always check the directions in the package to make it right. Regular readers of my blog will know about my love for quinoa. I started experimenting with it when I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. You can look for my quinoa recipes here.

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Its super hot here, cold salad was the obvious choice. As the quinoa whistled its way, I thinly sliced cabbage. I walked past the pantry to grab raisins which I soaked in hot water to plump up. I wanted more crunch and sweetness in the salad, so I chose sweet corn and green peas to go with it. Next on the list was protein. I could use cooked chicken or shrimp or lamb or tofu or soy chunks. For today, I stuck with extra firm tofu. I chopped them into bite size cubes. As the list of ingredients came together in my mind, I felt a need for a herb. It’s cilantro for today. You can add fresh mint or parsley too. If you love mint, you should try quinoa salad with minty yogurt dressing. Click here for the recipe.

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Next comes the dressing, I love balsamic vinegar and I love yogurt. I decided to bring them together by mixing equal portion of both. Then I added Dijon mustard and Sriracha for the heat. To even out the flavors, I added little agave nectar for sweetness. The vinaigrette is all set. My three year old boy helped me assemble the salad. I left the salad to get cold for an hour and served it chill at noon for lunch. We loved it so much that it was packed for Monday lunch too. You won’t believe it, my son wanted the left over for his lunch as well.

I wouldn’t recommend eating this during gestational diabetes as it has sweetness from sweet corn, peas and agave nectar. During diabetes, I would skip the agave nectar in the dressing and also would replace corn and peas with carrots and lettuce. I would add nuts like almonds, peanuts or seeds like pumpkin or sunflower seeds too. This is a great salad to munch on after a workout. Eat yummy food and stay fit!

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COLD QUINOA SALAD WITH CREAMY BALSAMIC DRESSING

Cooking Level: Super Easy

Recipe: Self

Serves: A family of four

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup sweet corn (you can use frozen too)
  • 1 cup green peas (I used frozen)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 10 oz extra firm tofu, cubed
  • 1/4 cup raisins

For the dressing

  • 1/4 cup thick low fat yogurt
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon sriracha (use as per your liking)
  • 1/2 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt to taste

 Directions

  1. Whisk all the ingredients listed under “for the dressing” together. Store in a container until use. You can refrigerate it and it stays fresh upto 2-3 weeks.
  2. Cook quinoa as per the instruction in the package. Once cooked, let it cool down to room temperature and store it in the fridge until use.
  3. Mix all the veggies, tofu, quinoa and herb with the salad dressing. I would start with 1 tablespoon and move up as per the requirement.

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