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BF Cook-along: Cold Asian-Style Quinoa Salad

Ok, first my apologies to my Foodies who only access the blog and not my Facebook or Twitter pages. Let me get you up to speed.

I decided to do a cook-long and it works like this. Folks give input on an ingredient they’d like to see everyone get challenged to use in a recipe over the course of the week. I pick an ingredient from those suggested (using a random generator) and we all make something with that ingredient, snap a photo and post it. The idea is…to get new ideas!

So for this inaugural week the ingredient was quinoa. If you’ve never heard of it, read this and we’ll wait for you to come back.

All up to speed now? Lovely.

So tomorrow I’ll announce next week’s ingredient AND I’ll post pictures (and recipes where I have them) of other Foodies’ quinoa submissions. Look for it!

My recipe was in pursuit of an alternative to pasta or potato salad at the forthcoming Memorial Day barbecues. I love cold salads but I just can’t do noodles. So here’s what I came up with. The amount yields enough to pass at a function so if you’re making it just for you OR you’re not sure if others will like it, I highly suggest halving it.

Nik’s Cold Asian-Style Quinoa Salad


Ingredients:

  • 1 c. quinoa (if you have some cooked quinoa lying around, great! If not, there’s guidance below)
  • 2 c. water (if you have to cook your quinoa)
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 2 c. cooked and shelled edamame (soy beans – I usually just got
  •  a bag of frozen edamame and let it thaw!)
  • 1 small can tiny shrimp (see picture below OR if you don’t like shrimp a cup of diced cooked chicken meat works fine too)
  • 1 small can Mandarin orange slices, drained of their liquids and rinsed
  • 1/2 c. Light Asian Sesame or Sesame Ginger salad dressing
  • 1/2 c. almond slivers
Directions:
If you need to cook your quinoa, the only thing I did differently from my general quinoa cooking directions is that I first dry toasted it, which really just means I put a dry pan (free of nonstick cooking spray or oil) on a medium flame and let it get hot, then added the dry quinoa and stirred until it started to brown. It just deepens the flavor a little bit. 
While the quinoa is cooking, dice up your peppers and onion and put them in a big bowl along with the edamame, cover and refrigerate. Once the quinoa is done refrigerate until cooled. DO NOT ADD HOT QUINOA TO YOUR VEGGIES!
When everything is nice and cool, combine quinoa with veggies, mandarin oranges and shrimp and mix thoroughly. 
Add the dressing and mix again. Cover it again and let it sit in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
When you are ready to serve this, heat a dry skillet over medium heat until hot and add the almond slivers. Toast them until they are fragrant and slightly brown.
Add toasted almonds to the cold salad mixture, toss and serve!
I like this salad! It’s crunchy (both from the almonds and the edamame), a little salty and a little sweet. I think it could stand up against any other barbecue side dish!

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