Hot & Spicy Quinoa Salad (Vegan)- [Quarantine Day 10]

I like Quinoa. Now.  Earlier, I didn’t care much for it cause most of the quinoa salads I had tried were served cold. Perhaps it’s the hot-blooded Indian in me, but eating cold foods just ain’t my thing. Unless it’s ice cream of course, lol.

My quinoa salad is served hot and topped with fresh vegetables. It’s also spicy hot. It can be eaten as a meal or served as a side dish. More importantly, it’s super easy to prepare.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons ghee* (omit if vegan)
  • 2 tablespoons oil (no, this is not a typo, we need both)
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (quinoa cooking instructions below)
  • 1/2 cup broccoli stems, chopped in large pieces
  • 1/2 cup onions (I like red onions), diced
  • 1/4 cup mixed peppers (red, green, yellow)
  • 1/2 cup zucchini (peeled and chopped into cubes)
  • 1 cup chopped lettuce (romaine preferable but any works)
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, finely minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped or minced
  • 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), washed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon red crushed pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2-3 broken pieces (1/2 inch) cinnamon sticks
  • ½ cup chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 cup chopped avocado
  • Salt to taste
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro

COOKING THE QUINOA

  1. Wash the quinoa and soak it for 30 minutes. (Sometimes I soak it overnight too)
  2. Cover it with water and cook it on low heat. You can also stick it in the microwave to cook.
  3. Check frequently to ensure it doesn’t burn. If you need more water, add small quantities of it as needed. This is important to ensure the quinoa isn’t runny.
  4. When the kernels look clear and taste soft, the quinoa is cooked.
Quinoa
Tri-color Quinoa (uncooked)

 

Quinoa
Cooked Quinoa

DIRECTIONS FOR VEGETABLES

  1. Heat the ghee and add the cumin seeds. Once the cumin seeds start popping, add the cinnamon stick pieces.
    [For a vegan option, replace ghee with oil.]
  2. Next, add the quinoa and mix gently. Set aside.
  3. In a wok, heat 2 tbsps of oil.  Add the chopped onions, zucchini, and broccoli and sauté them on a high flame.  Allow them to cook until el dente (not too soft, not too uncooked). Keep stirring to ensure the vegetables don’t burn.

ASSEMBLING THE QUINOA SALAD

  1. Place 2 tbsp quinoa in a bowl.
  2. Add 1 tbsp chickpeas.
  3. Add 2 tbsp sautéed vegetables.
  4. Top with 1 tbsp each of tomatoes, onions, cucumber, and lettuce.
  5. Top with chopped jalapenos (optional).
  6. Mix everything gently.
  7. For some extra zing, add red crushed pepper (optional).
  8. Final Step: Add salt and lime to taste, mix. Top with chopped cilantro and avocado.
  9. Serve immediately.

P.S. I make individual servings of this so that the sautéd vegetables stay hot. Also, heated up cucumber is so not tasty, lol.

P.S. [Quarantine Day 10]

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