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a quick fix

Recipe: quinoa, fruit and nut salad

I first read about quinoa three years ago in a food article and I tucked it away in my head. It is a great Scrabble or Tiles word to use up that Q, and everyone around you who isn’t a food dork declares it isn’t a word. What do they know? Quasar is another good one, but that has nothing to do with food. I only sampled quinoa a few times in restaurants, but lately I’ve been trying to work more grains into my diet because I love them and it is really a lack of exposure that has kept me from experimenting in the kitchen more than anything else.

dried quinoa

Most recently I whipped up a batch of leftover soup – all of the frozen and fresh vegetables I could find tossed in with some chicken, in a half beef half chicken broth (ran out of one, had more of the other…). Fiona told me she pours a cup of quinoa into any old soup and it’s great. She was right. I loved it. Jeremy loved it. Loved it. Feeling more familiar with this tiny complete protein seed, I next thought of a sweet take on it.

fresh fruit – one of the many joys in my life

There was a terrific fruit and nut salad I used to order from Aladdin’s in Ithaca, New York. Loads of fresh fruit topped with yogurt, honey, and walnuts. Perfect for those low energy times – a true pick-me-up. It’s an easy recipe to reproduce, mutate, improve upon.

a few walnuts add extra texture

I figured I could set the entire fruit and nut salad on a small bed of cooked quinoa for a powerhouse meal. I had a bowl of this after a 2-hour cardio workout yesterday and it was incredibly satisfying. Now that I think of it, there are a lot of things that would have been satisfying after my workout, like a bowl of chili cheese fries, or sticky cinnamon buns, or some pad thai… But I’m talking about satisfying in the “I am feeling superior for not delivering all of the calories I just burned straight back to my ass” sense.

cooked quinoa

While cooking the quinoa, I noticed the smell of it was similar to the smell of cooking Chinese sweet red beans (aka azuki beans) or sweet green beans (they are similar to the red ones, except they are green and smaller). It’s a pleasant odor that is both nutty and tea-like. The quinoa is a breeze to cook and I am a huge fan of the flavor and texture. It works well with this salad.

a bowl of healthy goodness

Quinoa, Fruit, and Nut Salad
[print recipe]

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
dash salt
plain yogurt (I use non-fat)
fruit, washed, peeled, diced
chopped walnuts

Rinse the quinoa for a minute or two under cold water. Bring the quinoa, 2 cups of water, and salt to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce to simmer and cover. Cook for about 20-25 minutes until tender. Spoon 1/2 cup of quinoa into a bowl. Top with fruit and plain yogurt (the amounts are up to you). Drizzle honey over the salad and top with chopped walnuts.

28 nibbles at “a quick fix”

  1. Michelle says:

    I’ve become a quinoa groupie. Yay for more quinoa exposure! Now I have to go try it with yogurt… :)

  2. Jodi says:

    I LOVE Quinoa! Try this if you are a risotto fan: Stir over low heat until melted: cooked Quinoa + dash milk + shredded Parmesan. Season with salt, pepper and finish with Truffle Oil! Delicious and better for you than risotto!!!

  3. peabody says:

    Ah, health food that actually tastes good…yum.

  4. manggy says:

    Ooh, these grains can be difficult to pretty up, but of course you had to be the one to manage it :-p I haven’t tried quinoa before; it costs a pretty penny at the health food store, as usual! An experienced tongue is an expensive one in my country :-D

    The U tile can be a pain to find sometimes. But at least QUINOA uses up a lot of 1-point tiles. QAT really is the easiest way to get rid of it :-)

  5. a. grace says:

    everywhere i turn, i’m hearing about quinoa…

    i haven’t been inspired to try it until now! :)

  6. Graeme says:

    I always went with ‘Quantum’ to use up that bloody ‘Q’, lol.

    Salad looks amazing – Walnuts! Always Walnuts, in everything.

  7. LyB says:

    I first tried quinoa about 15 years ago. My aunt is a health food nut (!) and she made this dish with tomatoes and other vegetables and spices with quinoa, and I’ve been hooked ever since! I’ve never tried it in a sweet dish though, what a great idea!

  8. clumsy says:

    I can’t really get myself into the whole quinoa thing.. but maybe this recipe will help! Thanks!

  9. brilynn says:

    Looks delicious! I’m on a kiwi kick lately so I’m loving everything with kiwi in it!

  10. Annemarie says:

    Really nicely put together, both in the bowl and on the page. I recently was able to spell ‘quinoas’ as my first word in Scrabble on that double word score, using all my tiles. The others weren’t pleased. :)

  11. Kevin says:

    That looks great! So far I have only used quinoa in savoury dishes and this fruity dish looks like it really works.

  12. Christine says:

    My Peruvian friends make this all the time and I love the taste and texture. I’m not sure why I don’t use it more often. I feel the same way when I eat yogurt after a workout (though it’s not ever 2 hours of cardio like yours, you crazy rockstar). The superiority complex takes over and I even contemplate wearing only cropped and low rise clothing.

  13. Deborah says:

    I’m always looking for inventive ways to use quinoa, and these are both great ideas!

  14. Suzana says:

    I love quinoa but had never thought of it with fresh fruit. Thanks for the idea… and for the gorgeous photos to persuade me to eat this tomorrow!

  15. Brianna says:

    I’ve developed quite a curiosity of the uses of quinoa in recipes, and both of these uses look delicious. Breckenridge is absolutely gorgeous right now, hopefully you get to go soon!

  16. jenyu says:

    Michelle – I think it’s so versatile. I love it!

    Jodi – what a great idea! Thanks for the recipe :)

    Peabody – I am positive you could turn this into a pumpkin, ginger, caramel, something or other fantasy.

    Manggy – dude, is it easy to ship? I could send you some if it weren’t to be confiscated by customs! Tis cheap here in the states.

    A.Grace – let me know how you like it!

    Graeme – I didn’t realize you were such a fan of walnuts. Quantum is another excellent choice, but I rarely get two Us :(

    LyB – I always thought quinoa was a savory food as well, but I love it with the sweet too.

    Clumsy – yep, I hope you like it. Everyone has different preferences :)

    Brilynn – oh kiwis… I don’t find many good ones here right now.

    Annemarie – dang! Using all of your letters – sweeeet!

    Kevin – it does work, but I think I used too much salt when I boiled it, hence I recommend a dash only.

    Christine – Cropped and low rise clothing! Own it, girlfriend!! :) I think my 2 hours of cardio are about to take a nosedive once I being treatment – bummah.

    Deborah – terrific!

    Suzana – you’re very welcome.

    Brianna – yeah, gorgeous and full of beautiful fluffy snow :)

  17. Kaykat says:

    I’m a quinoa freak, but I’ve never thought of using it with fruits! Such a great idea :)

  18. Tartelette says:

    I love quinoa for the protein/carb ratio and most mornings I’ll have a hot bowl of it after my runs. Quinoa flour is great in cakes and pancakes to boost up the ‘less-guilty-it’s-healthy” feeling. Papaya with a drizzle of lime juice rocks too!

  19. Chris says:

    I love quinoa. Just started eating it last year. i am trying to figure out its shelf life….I can’t get through mine fast, since its just me…any ideas?

  20. Amy says:

    This looks delicious (I too love quinoa!) I went to Cornell and remember the fruit and nut salad at Aladdin’s — that was a great place for salads. Sadly, Aladdin’s is no longer in Collegetown…but I’ll make this salad and remember it in spirit. Thanks for the recipe!

  21. jenyu says:

    Kaykat – I too always considered it a savory food – but it’s great with this fruity twist!

    Tartelette – You are such a stud, quinoa after your run! You inspire me, Helen :)

    Chris – all I can figure is to cook up smaller batches and work through it as you can. I have also read that the shelf life isn’t huge :(

    Amy – no way! It moved?! I was there in May 07 and we had dinner at Aladdin’s where it always was in my six long years there…

  22. Julie O'Hara says:

    A great quinoa soup that I started making recently refreshed my love for quinoa. This recipe is a great way to eat it. I haven’t yet crossed over into the sweet-quinoa territory or quinoa for breakfast, but I’m thinking it’s inevitable:)

  23. jenyu says:

    Julie – Oooh, I hope you like it!

  24. ailo says:

    Ooh! That’s what I got every time at Aladdins! You even remembered the honey (crucial). Looks good.

    And in addition to its health and whole-grainedness, the texture of quinoa is just wonderful, a chewy counterpoint to anything soft and mushy.

  25. jenyu says:

    Ailo – it was one of my favorites at Aladdins :)

  26. shayne says:

    I have never thought to put quinoa and fruit together what a great idea in both flavor and texture.

  27. jenyu says:

    Shayne – yup, I quite like it!

  28. A Good Lunch « Eat, Run, Read says:

    […] to quinoa: it’s nutty and grainy (which I like) and a nice switch from rice.  I tried this quinoa recipe to see if it was something I could eat and determined that it was indeed a yummy […]

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