QUINOA SALAD | beauty building blocks

[RECIPE]  Serves 4-6 | 30min wo-to-go

I discovered this fabulous amino-rich plant seed when my husband & I were trekking in Peru in 2003. It was a popular staple of  Sth America (& sacred to the Incas), providing one of the few plant sources of complete protein (12-18% protein) , for the life of me I could not work out why it was so hard to get back in Australia. Fast – forward 2012 and everyone is talking  ‘Keen-wah’.

Like all things new, you wonder how to best use it. I’m only a couple weeks ahead of you in my experience and can share – it is almost ‘fool|fail’ proof & very quick|easy. It has an interesting texture -it’s soft, creamy & chewy all at once, it taste is mild, almost earthy, perhaps a little nutty.  I chose the red variety as it looks so pretty. Here I add lots of green & white crunch and a simple lemony dressing.


This salad offers your skin nutrients to help fight wrinkles & look radiant.

Quinoa contains minerals manganese and copper, which are needed by one of your skin’s best antioxidants, superoxide dimustase, in order to work. It also contains zinc, an essential antioxidant and anti-inflammatory mineral that fights against acne and is involved in the metabolism of omega 3 fatty acids not to mention being responsible for releasing and transporting Vitamin A into your cells to act as moisturisers and lubricants helping to keep skin smooth and plump. Because quinoa is a wholeseed it retains it fibre (and nutrients) helping to regular your blood sugar levels thus preventing insulins spikes that lead to the breakdown of skin cells ‘glue’ and the formation of wrinkles.


1 cup quinoa – red, white or mixed

1 lebanese cucumber – peeled, deseeded and finely chopped

2 stalks celery – finely chopped

handful almonds (any style) – toasted & chopped

1/2 bunch parsley – chopped

1 lemon

olive or sunflower oil

approx 2 tspns sugar or honey



1. Into a saucepan add quinoa and 2 cups of water. Bring to the boil, stir, cover, simmer gently for approx 15mins til water has absorbed and seeds are ‘al dente’. Remove lid. Fluff up with fork. Set aside to cool.

2. Into a large bowl, add quinoa, cucumber, celery, almonds, parsley. Finely grate over zest of lemon.

3. Juice the lemon. Measure quantity, then measure out approx 3 times the quantity in oil. (ie vinaigrette with proportions 3:1 -> oil to juice)

4. Into a small bowl add juice, oil, sugar (or honey), salt and pepper. Whisk til combine. Taste – adjust any of the ingredients to ensure well balanced.

5. Pour over salad, toss, taste and re-season if needed.


use a rice cooker to cook the quinoa. Change the proportions of water (1.5) and quinoa (1). If it is starting to stick towards the end of the cooking period and not looking very plump, add another 1/4 cup water and give it a good scrape | stir, pop the lid on and finish cooking.


– get them involved making it and they will love it because of the ‘sweeter’ dressing and crunching bits.

2 replies
  1. Lisa Fraser
    Lisa Fraser says:

    Yum! Thanks Cindy for the heads up on Quinoa. I had heard of it before but never bought it. I was the same – what to do with it? I tried this last night and love it. I work from home and making sure I eat well is important, so having some left over in the fridge ready for my lunch is perfect for me. Will be experimenting with quinoa a lot more now.

    • Cindy Luken
      Cindy Luken says:

      my pleasure! 🙂 I cooked it a la natural to go with the’coq a vin’ I found in the bottom of the freezer last night! Hope you have a rice cooker …love how it looks after itself! PS… I am having left over quinoa for lunch today too….yum – get those iron levels up without eating meat!


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