This salad has something a little different for ingredients and looks great on the table due to its intense color and flavour. All the more perfect and refreshing, if it is summer, in your part of the world!
If you are looking to make a quick lunch, possibly to take to work, and still have leftover that can double for a light and healthy dinner, then this Quinoa and Pomegranate Salad, I’ve adapted from Lorelle’s recipe might be a perfect option. [After all who likes a soggy sandwich for lunch, or has the energy to make a nutritious gourmet meal, when work finishes late.]
As the main ingredient was “Quinoa,” one of those buzzy superfoods that everyone is talking about, and I noticed a bag of tricolour Quinoa just begging to be used in my pantry, I thought I’d try it out.
In addition, this recipe has pomegranate and I do like pomegranate!
But first a little about Keen-wah, or Quinoa!
“Quinoa is gluten free, high in folate and Magnesium, and Manganese. Quinoa is (also) high in fiber, protein and has a low glycemic index. It has been linked to weight loss and improved health.
Red quinoa (which takes on a brownish hue when cooked) has a richer taste, slightly chewier texture, and somewhat nuttier flavor compared to white quinoa. It’s often the quinoa of choice for cold salads as it holds its shape better during cooking. “
“Quinoa is also high in B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E and various beneficial antioxidants.
These important molecules have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancer and anti-depressant effects in animal studies. “https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-benefits-of-quinoa
Potassium has the added health benefit of, “protection against loss of muscle mass, preservation of bone mineral density and reduction in the formation of kidney stones.”
Lorelle’s wonderful recipe suggested using Pomegranate Molasses as an ingredient for the salad dressing. But where would I find that?
Not in the mainstream supermarket, that’s for sure.
Lorelle suggested I try to source it from a Middle Eastern Grocer. That required finding one first, and getting a free day to go there, so instead, I decided to adapt Lorelle’s recipe using some extra honey in place of the Molasses and adding a few of my own ingredients, that I had in my pantry.
Recipe on the go.
NB. I have included the usual way to prepare Quinoa at the bottom of this post.
Then I encountered another problem I had not anticipated –
Problem #2 –
How do I peel the pomegranate, and get those beautiful juicy capsules out?
How do you do that, I thought? Anyone have a suggestion?
There was a somewhat aborted attempt, by me, to cut the pomegranate in quarters and then scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon.
Those in Club Pomegranate ‘knowhow’, can probably imagine the slightly shocking scene that soon confronted me:
Tens of dozens of small ruby red pomegranate capsules flinging about in all directions over my kitchen bench and floor as I tried valiantly to scoop them out. To which, my son who had just arrived hoping for something to eat stood at the door of the kitchen, with his mouth gaping, pointing quizzically towards the floor.
What’s happened here? he said, his face aghast.
I looked down at the ruby red smears on my hands and all over the kitchen floor – quickly realizing the creamy-white tiles were now reminscent of a scene from a B grade Murder Movie. “I was trying to remove the pomegranate seeds,” I said. “But I am not quite sure how.”
The look of his face made me think he remained totally unconvinced I wasn’t killing some poor creature, for its meat.
Luckily for me, and somewhat late to the party, Youtube came to my rescue.
This is how I should have approached the task.
Only when you know how!
So Helter Skelter Scene averted, and tiles duly mopped clean, I was back to the salad.
I did add some other minor variants to the Lorelle’s ingredients list, so I do hope she doesn’t mind.
Here is how it turned out:
Looks pretty scrumptious and I am happy to recommend it.
Instead of sharing it with my family, who are prone to turn up their noses at strange new dishes, I took it to work, for lunch.
Work lunch – Done!
Here is the full recipe:
Chickpea & Quinoa Salad
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup uncooked Tri-colour Quinoa
¼ cup toasted sunflower seeds
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
1 ½ cups chicken stock*
1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 can corn kernels, rinsed and drained
1/2 punnet Gourmet Pecorina tomatoes,
(I used yellow and red ones for contrast)
½ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup chopped mint
1 cucumber, [diced]
½- 1 cup pomegranate seeds
¼ cup olive oil
4 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon salt
- In a medium saucepan heat the Olive oil.
- Add garlic and sauté lightly
- Add Quinoa and stir over low – medium heat for a few minutes.
- Add the chicken stock* or water and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer covered for 15 mins or until water is absorbed.
- Cool completely. Once cool, fluff the Quinoa to separate the grains.
- Mix cucumber, herbs, and the rest of the ingredients together in a bowl, before adding the cooled quinoa and toasted nuts and seeds.
- Mix all ingredients for the dressing together. Pour over Quinoa salad and mix well.
- Serve on a bed of spinach* leaves for an extra nutritional boost of Magnesium, potassium, Vitamin K, A, and Iron.
* “Spinach is one of the best sources of dietary potassium and magnesium, two very important electrolytes necessary for maintaining human health. Spinach provides a whopping 839 milligrams of potassium per cup (cooked). As a comparison, one cup of sliced banana has about 539mg of potassium.”https://www.livescience.com/51324-spinach-nutrition.html
*Lorelle’s Vegan option: Substitute water for chicken stock and omit honey in dressing.
How to Prepare Quinoa
Rinse Quinoa under running water prior to cooking to get rid of saponins, which are found on the outer layer and can have a bitter flavor. Some brands may have already been rinsed.
2 cups (240 ml) of water/chicken stock in a pot, turn up the heat.
Add 1 cup (170 grams) of raw quinoa.
Boil for 15–20 minutes.
Superfood Salads are Something to Ponder About for Work Lunches