Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Asian Quinoa Salad

I have been really enjoying our summer days. Iced tea, bathing suits, warm weather, long days - what is there not to enjoy? But, man oh, man! These last few days have been hot, hot, hot. The very last thing I want to do is turn the oven on or slave away over a hot skillet to cook dinner. So, I have been experimenting with easy and fast dinners that can be whipped up quickly, but are still hearty enough to appease my hubby's appetite! 

One of our new favorite go-to dishes to make is this Asian Quinoa Salad. Not only is it easy peasy, but it is pretty healthy. It's full of veggies and pretty colorful, so it's the perfect summer dish! There are even several short cuts you can make if you are short on time, too. 

Salad Ingredients
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
Chopped or shredded chicken (I use rotisserie when short on time)
1 cup chopped red cabbage (or bag of shredded cabbage or cole slaw from the salad aisle)
1 cup Napa cabbage (or omit if you'd like)
1 cup shelled and cooked edamame (frozen works great!)
1 red, orange or yellow bell pepper, chopped (I use baby bell peppers because that's what I buy)
1/2 cup shredded carrots (can use bagged shredded carrots or even a bag of cole slaw)
1 cup seeded and diced cucumber (english, regular or persian)

To make the dressing:
3/4 cup lite soy sauce or tamari sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
3-4 tablespoons chopped green onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/4-1/2 teaspoon grated ginger (I use 1/2 teaspoon)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and black pepper

This is how I make the salad...
I use my rice cooker to make the quinoa. I take 1 cup of quinoa and add 2 cups of water. After I mix the quinoa with the water, I cook it in the rice cooker. Make sure to mix it and remove it from the rice cooker promptly when it is done to avoid it burning on the bottom of the rice cooker pan.

Put the cooked quinoa, chicken, cabbage, edamame, bell pepper, carrots and cucumber in a bowl and set aside while you make the dressing.

In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, green onions, cilantro, sesame seeds, ginger, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. 

Pour dressing over the salad and stir to combine. Taste and re-season if needed. Sprinkle with crunchy chow mein noodles if you feel like being fancy!

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