Monday, August 11, 2014

Meatless Mondays: Thai Quinoa Salad with Citrus Thai Basil Vinaigrette

This quinoa salad was inspired by a single ingredient.  I harvested a bunch of Thai Basil from the garden and was unsure what to do with it.  I came up with an idea for making a Thai inspired salad that would taste wonderful in the summer heat.  I decided to use quinoa as the foundation for the salad.  I love quinoa because it makes an excellent protein source.  Quinoa salads are one of my favorite things during the summer.
I also came across a recipe for a Citrus Thai Basil Vinaigrette from Bobby Flay.  I decided to use it for my salad.  Looking back, I think the dressing needs work.  It wasn't a true vinaigrette and was a little watery in consistency which gave the quinoa a mushy texture.  I think the dressing needs more citrus and maybe some vinegar.  Otherwise, the ingredients in the salad was a nice blend and invoked a Thai flavor!

Thai Quinoa Salad with Citrus Thai Basil Vinaigrette
Dressing from Bobby Flay at The Food Network

1 c. quinoa (I used a mixture of white and red)
2 c. water or chicken stock
1/2 tsp. salt
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 English or Japanese cucumber, seeded and diced
2 green onions, finely sliced (I omitted this)
1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh Thai basil (can substitute mint), chopped

Citrus Thai Basil Vinaigrette:
3/4 c. orange juice
1/4 c. fresh lime juice 
1/2 c. Thai basil
1/2 c. fresh cilantro leaves
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 heaping Tbsp. honey
1/2 c. canola oil

1)  Cook quinoa according to package instruction.  I usually place 1 cup quinoa in a fine sieve and rinse well under running water then drain.  I like to toast my quinoa for additional flavor.  Add a Tbsp olive oil or butter to a medium pot (with lid).  Add quinoa and cook over medium heat for a few minutes until toasted.  Add 2 c. water or chicken stock and 1/2 tsp. salt to the pot and bring to a boil.  Lower heat to a simmer and cover pot.  Cook for 15 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated.  Remove from heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes with the cover on.  After 5 minutes remove lid and fluff quinoa.  Allow quinoa to cool.    

2)  Add all the ingredients for the vinaigrette to a blender and blend for about 1 minute.  Set aside dressing.

3)  Once quinoa has cooled, place in a large mixing bowl.  Add the other ingredients and toss well.  Add about 1/2 of the dressing and toss to coat.  Place salad in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to meld.  Add more dressing if needed.


Mac said...

The salad looks good, but I never thought of using quinoa with Thai basil.

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Margaret said...

I love quinoa but often forget that it is in my cabinet when I am thinking of what to make for lunch. My Thai basil succumbed to basil downy mildew but hopefully I will have better luck next year & be able to try this recipe.