Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Thai Cashew Quinoa Salad

This past weekend, I truly committed a full morning to weekly meal prep.  It's something I've been working on being more diligent with, knowing that during the week, time is a commodity that can often be in short supply.  James is also traveling for work a good part of this week as well and honestly, when it comes to preparing dinner for just myself, it's not sometime I tend to do.  In a concerted effort to not eat a microwave pizza every night he's gone, I now have a refrigerator full of protein-packed, ready-made meals.  Among them, is a Thai Cashew Quinoa Salad I adapted from a recipe I found on The Ambitious Kitchen.  It's truly a fantastic blend of flavors and one of the best parts is that you can really customize it to fit your tastes.  Not a fan of purple cabbage?  That's okay - just omit it.  Prefer peanuts to cashews?  Easy fix.  You can adapt the recipe in countless ways.  It makes a fabulous side dish or a great meat-free meal on it's own.

Thai Cashew Quinoa Salad

1 cup uncooked white quinoa
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 cup purple cabbage, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup scallions, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
1 small bunch of cilantro, finely minced
1/2 cup shelled edamame
1/2 cup raw cashew halves
juice of 1/2 of a lime
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
2 tablespoons creamy, all natural peanut butter
1 tablespoon honey or agave syrup
3 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
1 tablespoon mirin or rice wine
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon coriander
1 tablespoon kosher salt
5-6 grinds of freshly cracked black pepper
lime wedges, for garnish

- In a large dry skillet, toast your quinoa until it takes on a light, golden brown color
- Bring your stock to a slow, rolling boil and add your toasted quinoa and sea salt
- Cook for 12-15 minutes or until the seeds "bloom" and the liquid has cooked out
- Fluff the quinoa with a fork and set aside to cool for 10-15 minutes
- In a large bowl, combine cabbage, bell pepper, scallions, carrot, cilantro, edamame and cashews
- Once cooled too room temperature, add the quinoa and toss your salad ingredients
- Add your lime juice and toss to evenly coat your ingredients
- In a small, microwave safe bowl, combine your ginger, peanut butter and honey
- Microwave on high for 30-45 seconds or until the peanut butter begins to melt
- Add  soy sauce, mirin, vinegar, oil and seasonings
- Whisk dressing together until well incorporated
- Drizzle your dressing over the salad and toss until all ingredients are evenly coated
- Serve chilled or at room temperature garnished with a lime wedge
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days

Photo courtesy of Ambitious Kitchen 

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