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Jul 30, 2012 04:07 PM

Quinoa Salad - Home Cooking Dish of the Month August 2012

Announcing the August 2012 Home Cooking Dish of the Month: Quinoa Salad

Link to Nomination Thread:
Link to Voting Thread:

So, now that it's nearly August in Australia, let's start cooking! The idea of Home Cooking Dish of the Month is to collectively cook as many versions of the dish as possible within the month of August, reporting back with details about recipes, and photos of the dishes we've cooked.

If you're looking for inspiration, a quick search for "quinoa salad" on CHOW is a great start...immediately turns up some recipes and some good Chowhound threads. See:

Recipes for quinoa salad might come from the Internet, cookbooks, or could also be original inventions! Looking forward to seeing what people come up with, and trying some recipes of my own as well!

Dave MP

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  1. I so did not expect it to be quinoa; trendy seed and everyone is into it these days including my children. I seem to make it at least once a week. My favourite way to cook quinoa is to toast it first in a bit of olive oil until fragrant and then pour hot chicken stock over. I like 1 part quinoa to 1.5 part stock. Season and cook for 10min; turn off the heat, cover the pot with a towel, place the lid on top and let cool until ready to serve.

    The latest success was to top quinoa with Simple Salsa from Fish Without a Doubt (page 394).

    4 Replies
    1. re: herby

      Quinoa is trendy, I think, because it's one of the fastest cooking whole grains. And it's delicious! Thanks for the toasting tip!


      1. re: herby

        Costco has started carrying it (in huge bags, no less)- that is a sign Quinoa has *made it* in the world.

        1. re: pdxgastro

          i love the stuff, and it's great for us to work with a "new" ingredient, and make it a staple in our own homes, but not so great for everyone, unfortunately ...

      2. Love it! There are a couple of quinoa salads in Raising the Salad Bar the August COTM that I've had my eye on.


        1. This is an excellent quinoa salad. I boil it per the package instructions rather than steaming it like the recipe calls for. Otherwise, I follow it exactly and it is delicious! A real crowd pleaser.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Njchicaa

            Yes! We enjoy that salad too, although I have always omitted the black beans. The pickled jalapenos really add a nice kick.

            1. Just wondering, do y'all rinse your quinoa before cooking it? I'm mostly talking about the quinoa bought in bulk from a bin/dispenser. The first time i made it, I didn't rinse, it was bitter. Then I read that one really should rinse it first, the bitterness is left from processing. Not sure if that has changed much or not. It's been awhile since I've used it. I have some in the pantry, but it's in a package, already with spices, like a rice-a-roni mix.

              9 Replies
              1. re: wyogal

                I always rinse my quinoa 3 times. I think there is some quinoa that comes pre-rinsed from the producer, but I don't take any chances.


                1. re: wyogal

                  I always rinse it well. The outer layer of the grain contains saponins which is what you make soap from... hence the bitter flavor.

                    1. re: Njchicaa

                      I've always wondered about this. I rinse mine but I like the recipes that call for toasting it. How do you dry it out before you put it in oil or do you dry fry it?

                      1. re: Samuelinthekitchen

                        When I use quinoa that needs to be rinsed, I put it in the pan first, heat gently just until dry, then add the oil.

                    2. re: wyogal

                      I have not bought in bulk and would rinse if I do. The packaged quinoa that I usually buy does not need rinsing - I have not rinsed once and never had a bitter dish.

                      1. re: wyogal

                        I rinse quinoa to remove the saponins. But the closely related Kañiwa apparently doesn't have the saponins and hence needs no (or less) rinsing

                        1. re: drongo

                          I always buy bulk (red and white) organic, and never rinse. Cook in my rice cooker, never experienced bitterness.

                        2. re: wyogal

                          I've never rinsed, never notice any bad/bitter flavor at all.

                        3. my books have not arrived yet
                          there r several types of quinoa-red,white,black
                          do the recipes indicate which one to be used?

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: jpr54_1

                            Some do. I'm curious if it matters, other than aesthetics. Has anyone noticed a difference in flavor or texture between the three colors? Edit: in this link, they mention that the red quinoa doesn't absorb water as quickly.

                            Question for DaveMP: is this the thread we use to report back on the recipes we try. Or will you post another thread tomorrow?


                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              In her recent NY Times article on quinoa salads, Martha Rose Shulman mentions that the black quinoa needs more water and time to soften

                              1. re: drongo

                                Interesting! So, what she calls "pearl" quinoa, is that just the ordinary beige quinoa we see most of the time or is that yet another variety?


                              2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                I usually mix red and white together while cooking in rice cooker, never had issue with one cooking slower than the other, don't notice any difference in taste/texture.