asian quinoa salad

This is basically what I eat everyday. Okay well this or something like this.

I find the best way to have good food around is to make balanced one bowl meals that are fresh, full of variety and filled with flavour. This time of year is fantastic because I’m using all the herbs from our herb-garden and can basically make anything beautifully seasoned with a mix of fresh herbs. As you know, I don’t call myself vegan—maybe more of a real-foodist would be the term if I were to label it or maybe modern-macrobiotic would be fitting—but I would say I eat plant-based food 90% of the time. My macrobiotic roots inform my whole-food lifestyle and my current lifestyle, activity, health and cultural prowess makes me love to eat (and make) variety with all different flavours. I feel best with fresh, I know I need good protein consistently, I need light and hydrating foods to feel balanced (especially while breastfeeding). I eat with the seasons but am also modern enough to acknowledge that sometimes a girl needs the amazing healthy-oils available in avocados in the dead of winter.

This is a very summer dish. It’s light, cool, fresh and leaves you feeling satisfied and yet inspired too. (I know, all that in a quinoa salad, who knew!) I would put some on a bed of arugula or lettuce for lunch or put a grilled piece of fish on it for dinner. It is great because it’s one of those things you can make, put in the fridge and re-purpose for various meals all week long. You won’t get sick of it, I promise.

Here’s how:

  • 5 c. cooked quinoa (I used a mix of red quinoa and regular golden quinoa)
  • 1/4 c red onion — chopped fine
  • 1 large carrot — chopped into matchsticks
  • 1 c. chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 c. cooked corn (about 1 cob if you have fresh and want to cut it off, like I did.)
  • 1/4 c. chopped cilantro
  • 2 inches fresh ginger — chopped fine (peel skin of fresh ginger first)
  • thai basil (to taste) — 20 leaves, whole or chopped
  • 1 1/2 T gomashio

Put all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Combine. Add the following to the quinoa mixture for dressing:

  • 2 T sesame oil
  • 3 T olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon or lime
  • 1 T umeboshi vinegar
  • 2 T brown rice vinegar
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T tamari
  • 2 T pickle juice (yes, pickle juice from your favourite dill pickle or ginger pickles that are in your fridge, hopefully they’re good quality or homemade ones. 😉 You could use a sauerkraut juice too I bet! I hate to throw away all that good vinegar or brine so I often try and use it in salad dressings and dishes here and there. Trust me, it adds a little light garlic and complexity to what’s going on here.)

Mix well so dressing ingredient are distributed throughout. Add freshly ground pepper or if you like spice, some chilli flakes. Chill in the refrigerator and enjoy!

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