On its own, quinoa isn’t pleasant — it has the taste and texture of minced cardboard. But this high-protein seed that’s currently the darling of the health food world has a low glycaemic index that causes a gradual rise (and not sudden spike) in blood sugar and insulin so you feel fuller and more energetic for a longer time. It isn’t exactly low in carbohydrates, but quinoa does provide all the amino acids our bodies need that other grains like rice don’t. The trick is to build lots of flavour and texture into this salad so its taste matches its benefits. Happily, quinoa is a ready sponge for flavour, so it’ll absorb the soy-sesame dressing and sweet juices of the vegetables in this recipe. Plump salmon rubbed with miso and mirin adds another dimension of deliciousness to this pile of gastronomic virtues.
Serves 2 to 4
2 tbsp miso
1 tbsp mirin
2 salmon fillets (150g each)
1 cup dried quinoa
1 ½ cups water
½ cup sweet corn kernels (canned)
8 cherry tomatoes, diced
2 cups rocket or baby spinach leaves, chopped
For the dressing:
¼ cup light soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp canola or olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp sugar
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Mix miso and mirin in a small bowl to blend and then rub this mixture all over the salmon fillets.
- Place the salmon on a piece of foil and bake for 10 minutes on the middle rack. Remove and set aside to cool till warm.
- To cook quinoa, place the quinoa and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and cook for about 15 minutes till the quinoa absorbs all the liquid and sprouts “tails”. The quinoa should be tender to the bite. Fluff it up with a fork.
- When the quinoa is completely cooled, transfer to a bowl with the rest of the salad ingredients, except the fish.
- To make dressing, place all the ingredients in a bottle, cover the bottle with a lid and shake vigorously to mix.
- Pour dressing over the salad and toss to mix. Transfer to a serving plate and top with the salmon.
Note: If you’re preparing this a day ahead, chill the salmon and other ingredients separately. When ready to eat, flake fish and mix into salad with the dressing.