Friday, July 27, 2012

Grilled Mushroom and Quinoa Salad with Cucumber-Onion


For years I have resisted Quinoa.  And for what reason I do not know. The internet had been alive with it but I refused to budge.
"Quinoa ( /ˈknwɑː/ or /kɨˈn.ə/, Spanish: quinua, from Quechua: kinwa), a species of goosefoot (Chenopodium), is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds.It has a high protein content and it is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is also a source of calcium, and thus is useful for vegans and those who are lactose intolrant."

Brown Rice -- Check.
Daliya -- Check.
Flax Seed -- check.
Quinoa -- Ummm...

And then one day I got a frozen box of cooked quinoa from Trader Joe's, the kind which says defrost and cook in microwave for 12.5 minutes. It was a disaster. Really. I don't know how I could have gone wrong with those instructions, there were barely any. But it was so bad that D refused to eat any of it.So there went my Quinoa dream.


Then again one fine day while on vacation in Cape Cod, I spotted a Trader Joe's. Of course I had to go in. More important than disturbing the colony of whales and ogling at them I tell you.Since I couldn't buy anything frozen, I bought a whole packet of uncooked quinoa and carried it all the way back home where it sat in the pantry for almost two months. Until today that is.

Watching the opening ceremony of the London Olympics seemed a befitting time to try a new grain. The opulence of one could mask the other's failure, I assumed.


The idea of a quinoa salad with cucumber came from here also the instruction to cook it right. I also decided to pair the quinoa salad with a grilled mushroom and sweet pepper on the side. The idea of the marinade for the vegetables came from Progna's blog.


This is what went in the marinade:

1/4cup Olive Oil
Juice of half a lime
1 tsp whole black pepper coarsely crushed
3 clove of garlic coarsely pounded
1 tsp Red Chili flakes
2 tsp Brown Sugar
1/4 tsp or more Lime zest

The baby portabella were rinsed, dried and tossed in the marinade along with some sweet peppers. After an hour soaking up the marinade the vegetables were set on the outside grill to char and cook. Alternately you can also roast them in the oven.


Now comes making the Quinoa Salad:

Meanwhile 1 cup of Quinoa was soaked in water for 5 minutes.

On the stove was set to boil a pan with 3 cups of salted water. When the water comes to a boil, drain the quinoa on a strainer and add to the pan. Lower heat to medium and cook for 12-15 minutes. Little thread like thingy will come out from the seeds when they are cooked and the tiny seeds will turn translucent. Once done, drain the Quinoa, put it back in the pan and let it sit for 5 minutes. I also rinsed it in cold water while draining and then fluffed it with a fork.

Chop cucumber, red onion and green chili and in a bowl toss them with olive oil, salt and lime juice.Add some finely chopped coriander leaves. Gradually add the cooked quinoa to this bowl and toss. Taste and adjust for seasoning as you go.

The Quinoa Salad was darn good by itself  and we had it with the grilled mushroom and sweet pepper.

Faster, Higher, Stronger....the amazing power of the Human Bean. Go Olympics.


Now when I had started this post I thought I would send it to Jaya's "Healthy Food--Whole Grain" event. But Quinoa is technically a seed and not a grain so I am not sure if it deserves an entry.

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  1. Ummm,this looksperfect for weekend,,,:) happy weeknd

  2. Dear Sandeepa, You manage to inspire me always! I went to farmers market in my town and got the fresh veggies. Though I did not have time to marinate the mushrooms-peppers they turned out extremely delicious. Simply loved the quinoa salad..... Thank you sooooo much! -- Rehana

  3. I haven't tried quinoa yet. I never remember to buy it when I do go grocery shopping. I keep thinking I would whenever I see a post but you know, how good intentions turn out :) Looks good and give the reluctant garlic peeler a hug from me. And to her sis too.

  4. Well Thanks for mentioning and sending it Sandeepa..last time when I made it,I had to add scrambled egg...well korola teto hoye tao khete hoye , so is some kind of food if it's beneficiary to our health..and big hugs to jey loshon charache ..koto bhalo lagey jokhon bachara maye der ke help korey :-)...hugs to you and to BS and LS...

  5. Love the last two pictures.

    A lot of my grocery purchases get wasted in the name of experimentation.

  6. This looks delicious, and so, so good for you. Is it as healthy as it looks?

  7. Yummmm recipe,i love quinoa...hey have u tried cooking Quinoa Indian way it tastes awesome of them is quinoa pulao..just like how u cook veg pulao..give it a shot sometime...i generaly make it once a week for sure :)

  8. What's quinoa? The dictionary definition didn't help.
    And for Ms. Jaya "loshon"???? Lahsun in Hindi or roshoon in Bengali?
    You US_NRIs are great.

    1. TRy googlle, the wikipedia entry is good enough.

      Ah and do you really need to know what Jaya said? I think you haven't heard of "typo". Google that as well.

    2. I think it's not that difficult to ignore "typo" :-)..never knew roshon or lahsun can create such conflicts in someone's life....

  9. Hi !
    Do you know what is the Bengali name of "Quinoa" ?
    I'm from Calcutta. There is a grain called "Kaun" (কাউন) available here.
    Are they same ?

  10. So far কাউন is called foxtail millet


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