quinoa salad

A basic but tasty quinoa salad recipe!  I’ve been making this salad for a couple of years now as a lunchtime staple and I thought it was about time to share. Nothing’s easier than this – make some quinoa, chop some vegy’s, sprinkle on some feta and add some dressing! I don’t follow a recipe for this, but I will list one for those uncomfortable not following a recipe when preparing something new (a message to you folks – live a little ;))

Quinoa Myths
“Quinoa is awesome because it’s a protein-packed, gluten-free grain.”

There are two things wrong with this statement…can you spot them?

  1. Quinoa is not a grain. It’s a seed. Although it is gluten free!
  2. Quinoa actually isn’t a fantastic source of protein – 1 cup of cooked quinoa will give you 8 grams of protein (this is equal to two servings). Compare this to brown rice (5 grams protein for 1 cup cooked), whole wheat bread (5 grams protein for two slices) or whole wheat pasta (6 grams protein for 1 cup cooked). As you can see, it’s protein content is higher compared to other grains (even though it’s actually a seed) but isn’t a great when you compare it to other sources of protein. 3 oz of Salmon has 20 grams of protein, while 3/4 cup of lentils have 14 grams of protein. This is why I add another source of protein, chickpeas, to boost the protein!

A few other points about quinoa:

  • It is a complete protein! This means that it provides all the essential amino acids that our body requires. It can be challenging to find a plant protein that is a complete protein source –  plant proteins that are incomplete proteins (aka don’t contain all the essential amino acids) include beans, rice, grains, legumes (other than soy), and vegetables. Quinoa, soy, buckwheat, hemp seeds and chia seeds are plant sources of complete proteins.
  • Quinoa  has a low glycemic index. It raises blood glucose (sugar) slowly. That makes it a good choice for people at risk for, or living with, diabetes. This also means that is promotes satiety and keeps food cravings at bay.

Ingredients (Make 3-4 servings)

  • 2 cups reduced sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup chickpeas, cooked or canned
  • 1 cup cucumber, diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • balsamic dressing

Directions

  1. In saucepan, bring stock and quinoa to boil
  2. Reduce heat to medium/low and cover for 15 minutes or until the quinoa has soaked up all the stock
  3. While this is cooking, chop vegetables
  4. Transfer quinoa to a large bowl and cool
  5. Combine vegetables with cooled quinoa. Mix in dressing and top with feta cheese

Nutrition

Calories: 340
Carbohydrates: 40 g
Fibre: 7 g
Protein: 14 g
Fat: 8 g

Written by Nicole Osinga, RD, MAN, BASc

I'm a Registered Dietitian who works with clients in the Durham Region! I use evidence-based recommendations to help you achieve your nutrition goals. I have many hearty and delicious recipes to share! My office is in Courtice, ON. I regularly work with clients from Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, Pickering, Newcastle, Bowmanville and Courtice.

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