June 2, 2015

Quinoa Salad with Lime, Mint & Grilled Asparagus. {Gluten Free, Vegan Recipe}

Salad 2

Asparagus is in season in my area and I look for as many ways to include it in my spring diet as possible.

Like other early crops, asparagus is cleansing in nature—especially to the kidneys and urinary system.

It’s also loaded with lots of other benefits such as;

• Fiber, folate, Vitamins A, C, E, and K and chromium, which helps with insulin levels (blood sugar stabilization).
• It is a rich source of Glutathione, a detoxifying compound that helps break down carcinogens.
• Packed with antioxidants, it can neutralize cell damaging free radicals.
• It contains high levels of the amino acid Asparagine, which serves as a natural diuretic.
• Increased urination not only releases fluid but helps rid the body of excess salts. This is especially beneficial for people who have high blood pressure or other heart-related diseases.

About quinoa:

I love quinoa for salads because it’s high in protein and I sometimes eat it for breakfast as I do best with protein earlier in the day.

Quinoa is the world’s most popular superfood and is also full of protein, fiber, minerals and is gluten free.

Some more benefits of quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah):

It technically isn’t a cereal grain, it’s more a seed eaten like a grain, and is naturally gluten free.

Quinoa was an important crop for the Incas. They referred to it as the “mother of all grains” and believed it to be sacred.

It is much higher in fiber than most grains, with one source finding 17-27 grams of fiber per cup of uncooked Quinoa.

Quinoa is high in protein compared to most plant foods and contains all the essential amino acids.

Although very high in minerals, quinoa contains phytic acid which can partly prevent them from being absorbed. Soaking or sprouting quinoa degrades most of the phytic acid.

Quinoa can improve metabolic health by lowering blood sugar and triglyceride levels and is high in antioxidants, which are increased even further after the seeds are sprouted.

The Salad:

I like to make more and eat it over a few days; if I’m busy writing, I have a complete, easy meal ready to go.

You will need: Quinoa, one bunch of asparagus, two limes, one lemon, olive oil, two green onions, one large red pepper, salt/pepper, mint, dill and parsley.

1.Cook quinoa according to package directions—usually two cups of water to one cup of quinoa, but you can double that for a larger group.

2. Deposit cooked quinoa into a nice bowl (things taste better in dishes one loves, yes?) and let cool.

3. Drizzle with your favorite olive oil and the juice of two limes or more depending on the actual juiciness of the limes and how tart you like things. Lemon can be added in as well.

4. Grind in some fresh pepper and salt to taste. Set aside while grilling asparagus and to allow quinoa  to absorb oils/flavors.

5. Arrange fresh asparagus on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil and lemon. This can be done while quinoa is cooking. Broil on low in the oven or on the BBQ atop a veggie pan until asparagus is softened but still a bit crispy.

Do not overcook. Cool.

6. Chop two green onions, a red pepper and add to quinoa

7. Add fresh, finely chopped herbs: I use a bit of spearmint, some parsley and dill for this salad, but you can experiment with others.

Asparagus and dill are great friends, but if you were making a quinoa salad with a different veg, you could use mint, basil and parsley instead…or whatever strikes your fancy.

One teaspoon or tablespoon of fresh, depending how herby you like things.

8. When the asparagus is cool, chop into bite size bits and add to the salad.

And that’s it!

Garnish with a sprig of mint and enjoy! Can be eaten chilled or at room temperature.

Remember to re-toss if it has been sitting in the fridge and adjust oil/lime if necessary.

Photo: Courtesy of the author

Recipe: author’s own


Relephant read:

Almond Auroras: The Superfood Cookie {Vegan Recipe}


Author: Monika Carless

Editor: Travis May

Photo: Author’s Own

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