Japanese-Style Quinoa Salad with a Tamari-Ginger Dressing

Japanese-Style Quinoa Salad with a Tamari-Ginger Dressing

Judging by the number of requests I've received for quinoa recipes, it seems that this ancient staple food of the Andes, otherwise known as Inca rice, is enjoying a surge in popularity these days. And with its unique delicately sweet and nutty flavor as well as a nearly perfect amino acid balance rare to plant foods, it's a popularity that's well deserved. Toss in a good source of fiber, protein, iron, calcium, phosphorus and vitamins B and E, and it's a wonder that everyone's not eating quinoa.

I'll often cook 1/2 cup of quinoa in a cup of water in the manner I've described below and dress it with some toasted sesame seeds and a little tamari sauce if I just need a quick and easy grain side dish for dinner. But it's always nice to try something different, and this simple and hearty quinoa salad takes only a little more time and is not only very hearty and healthy, it's absolutely delicious!

I use red cabbage here to give the salad color, but green or Chinese cabbage will taste just as good. Another option is to add a 1/4 cup of slivered almonds.

Japanese-Style Quinoa Salad with a Tamari-Ginger DressingJapanese-Style Quinoa Salad with a Tamari-Ginger Dressing
Recipe by
Cuisine: Japanese
Published on October 30, 2007

A simple, attractive and delicious side dish for Asian meals with the wholesome goodness of quinoa and a tasty tamari, lime and ginger dressing

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

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  • 1 1/4 cups uncooked quinoa (3 3/4 cups cooked)
  • 3 tablespoon white sesame seeds
  • 1/2 small red cabbage, chopped
  • 5 or 6 large white mushrooms (1/2 lb or 450 g), sliced
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced, green and white parts
  • 3 tablespoons tamari (soy) sauce
  • juice of 2 lemons (4 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • Rinse the quinoa and soak overnight in 2 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and fluff thoroughly with a fork. Set aside in a large salad bowl to cool to room temperature.

  • Meanwhile, toast the sesame seeds in a small dry saucepan or skillet over medium-low heat, tossing or stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until lightly browned.

  • Shake together the dressing ingredients and set aside in a cruet or jar to let the ginger permeate through the dressing.

  • Fluff the quinoa again after it's cooled and add the sesame seeds and the rest of the salad ingredients. Serve cold or at room temperature with a splash of the dressing, shaking the cruet a little before each serving.

Makes 8 to 10 side servings

Japanese-Style Quinoa Salad with a Tamari-Ginger Dressing


VegeYum said...

I love quinoa! and it is so good for you. Your salad looks amazing

Anonymous said...

I notice that you always soak your quinoa overnight. I have been cooking it without soaking, as one would rice, and it comes out soft and pleasantly cooked in about 15 minutes. Is there some other reason to soak it other than to soften it? It may be an unnecessary step. Perhaps it differs by brand. Also, one recipe mentions it sprouting quickly. Actually, each quinoa seed has a little "tail" built in that comes unfurled when it is cooked. I don't think this is actually a sprouting of the seed. When cooked as I mentioned, without soaking, those little tails show up half way through the cooking process. Also, the last package of quinoa I bought claims it is prerinsed, so you don't have to rinse it. It pays to read the package carefully.

Lisa said...

Quinoa contains phytates and enzyme inhibitors that are broken down during the soaking process. The phytates, combined with minerals, are not absorbed in the digestive track. This is also the reason I soak millet, oats and certain other grains, such as kamut.

As for rinsing, yes, some quinoa does come pre-rinsed, but it depends on where it comes from. Not all brands are pre-washed.