Crunchy Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Since Mike and I have been spending just about every evening working down at our new house, we have been getting back to our apartment pretty late. I am usually fast asleep before I ever even think to pack a lunch for the next day. Then the next morning, I'm scrambling to throw something together and I usually end up with a few carrot sticks and a bag of popcorn to microwave. A complete and healthy lunch? I think not.

I've been searching for a light and easy salad that I can bring to work instead of the random contents of our fridge and pantry and when I saw this recipe the other day on Tasty Kitchen, I knew it was going to be just what I wanted. I needed something that wasn't really lettuce based so that it could last through the week in the fridge. This way, I could make a large batch and have it ready to go for those last minute mornings.


Crunchy Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing


For the salad:
1-1/2 cup water
3/4 cups uncooked quinoa
1 red bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup cashew halves or peanuts
1/4 cup diced green onions
fresh lime

For the dressing:
1/4 cup all natural peanut butter
1 tablespoon honey (or agave)
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon olive oil
water to thin, if necessary

Rinse quinoa with cold water in a mesh strainer. In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add in quinoa and bring mixture to a boil. Cover the pan, reduce heat to low and let it simmer for 15 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed all of the water.

Remove pan from heat and fluff quinoa with fork. Place in a large bowl and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes. You should have a little over 2 cups of quinoa.

To make dressing: Add peanut butter and honey or agave into a medium-sized microwave safe bowl. Heat in the microwave for 20 seconds. Add in ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, and both sesame and olive oil and stir until mixture is smooth and creamy. If you want a thinner dressing, simply stir in a teaspoon or two of water or olive oil.

Add as much or as little dressing as you’d like to the quinoa. I always start out with a little bit of dressing and usually add more to suit my taste preferences. Alternatively you can save the dressing for later and add when you are ready to eat; however the flavors of the dressing usually soak into the salad so I love adding it to the quinoa first.

Next fold the red pepper, onion, cabbage, carrots, and cilantro into the quinoa. Garnish with cashews and green onions. Serve chilled or at room temperature with lime wedges if desired.

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