Crunchy Quinoa Salad with Miso Tahini Dressing

Crunchy Quinoa Salad + Miso Tahini Dressing

i’ve been doing yoga consistently for 2 months
which is to say,
i go once a week.
that’s a big deal.
it’s part of my
I’m Getting Old AF concession
so i do the crusty bendy breathing stuff
and my dr doesn’t give me shit for being lazy.
speaking of lazy though,
i have been lax this summer with cooking.
i tend to make a big pile of food
and call it lunch for the week.

when Friends of Great Kids Farm reached out to me
to participate in a back to school healthy lunch challenge
i was going to decline.
i sat on it for a day and decided to join after all.
i pack a lunch for dw + me everyday,
it’s hard sometimes when i’m uninspired or tired.
i’m assuming it’s like that for everyone,
whether you’re a parent,
or just feeding yourself.
this particular week’s lunch is a repeat,
i make it often because
it’s easy
affordable
nutritious
delicious.
what do you usually have for lunch?

Crunchy Quinoa Salad + Miso Tahini Dressing

Friends of Great Kids Farm is a 501(c)3 foundation partner to Baltimore City Public Schools’ Great Kids Farm. Friends financially supports, enhances, and promotes the Farm’s experiential gardening and nutrition education and career training programs to benefit as many of Baltimore City Schools’ 85,000 students as possible. In 2008, an overgrown, unused property owned by City Schools was transformed into a working farm and dynamic outdoor classroom. This unique facility now provides: a working farm where students connect with healthy foods through cross-curricular, hands-on learning activities; fresh produce for school cafeterias and nutrition education programs; a professional kitchen where students cook and taste Farm produce guided by a chef educator; classrooms for healthy food demonstrations and tastings linked to core instruction; internships for high school students in agriculture and the culinary arts; and support for the development of schoolyard gardens throughout the district. The Back to School Healthy Lunch Campaign seeks to bring attention to healthy eating and support innovative education with local creativity.

for more information, hit up
Back to School Healthy Lunch Challenge

Crunchy Quinoa Salad + Miso Tahini Dressing

Crunchy Quinoa Salad with Miso-Tahini Dressing

*note: this salad is never the same every time, it’s usually whatever is available at the markets and offered from our csa and the season. you’re aiming for a balance of freshness, tart & salty & sweet, and most important: your preference. if you’re feeling fancy, add some kind of protein, ranging from grilled chicken to chickpeas to tofu. sometimes, time allowing, i add a hard boiled egg. if you’re super fancy, cook the quinoa in stock for even more flavor.
**note: any miso paste is fine, i have the mellow brown rice miso but i’ve used red, yellow or white before, it’s according to your flavor preferences.
***note: this dish is best as a leftover and at room temp, which makes it a perfect lunch. the flavors meld and you’re not having to worry about heating it up. if making for a picnic or potluck, make it the day before, so it makes for a stress free dish.

INGREDIENTS
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1/4 cup amaranth
1/4 red cabbage, shredded
1/2 bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, deseeded and diced fine
1/4 small red onion or shallot, diced
1 carrot, shredded
bunch chopped cilantro
3 stalks scallions, diced
sunflower seeds, optional
cashews or peanuts, very optional
lime wedges, to garnish at the end
toasted sesame seeds

DRESSING
1/2 cup tahini
1 2″ knob of ginger, freshly grated
3 TBL tamari or coconut nectar (or soy sauce)
1 TBL maple syrup
2 TBL rice vinegar
1 TBL miso paste
1 tsp sesame oil
salt/pepper to taste
water to thin

rinse quinoa in a mesh sieve under cool water for a few minutes.

cook quinoa + amaranth according to quinoa package instructions. adding the amaranth doesn’t change cooking time. fluff, set aside to cool.

mise en place everything that you’re wanting to add to the salad.

to make the dressing, use a big bowl to mix everything, or use a vitamix to do the heavy mixing. add in the tahini & miso paste with a splash of water. blitz it up until well incorporated, the aim is to break down the miso. add in the rest of the dressing ingredients, with splash of water if needed. i shoot for 3/4 cup to a full cup of dressing, season to taste.

in a big mixing bowl, add in the quinoa with the vegs. drizzle the dressing in, starting off with just half of it and mix through. you can add as much as you want, keeping in mind that the quinoa will absorb it. you don’t want soup though. you may not use up all the dressing, and it makes for great dipping or regular salad dressing.

top with diced scallions, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds or cashews/peanuts if using. spritz with lime juice.

serve cold or room temp.

BAM!

Crunchy Quinoa Salad + Miso Tahini Dressing

3 years ago: chicken masala
2 years ago: spice poached pears
1 year ago: steamed egg loaf

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7 thoughts on “Crunchy Quinoa Salad with Miso Tahini Dressing

  1. I had to look up amaranthe, an unfamliar ingredient.

    “Amaranthe is a Swedish heavy metal band notable for having three lead vocalists: Elize Ryd, Jake E Lundberg, and Henrik Englund Wilhemsson, each presenting a different vocal style (Ryd and Lundberg employ standard singing while Englund performs death growls)”

    Do I really want them in my salad—esp the last guy?

    1. you added an extra “e” at the end.

      the ingredient amaranth is a pretty new one for us, we’ve only had a few a times and so far we’ve liked it. i’ve only ever prepared it with another grain, like quinoa or barley, but i’ve read that it’s great popped like popcorn.

  2. What a delicious loaded bowl and great dressing! The sesame oil and vinegar probably add so much flavor. This is my mind of eating these days too. It’s a perfect partnership of two Baltimore food missions. I do think we have a huge problem with healthy eating in our institutions and urban food desserts in less fortunate communities. I’ve been researching it s little lately. I’m glad you touch on it here. I used to eat yogurt and veggies for lunch every day. Before l used to eat give sandwiches. But now in an effort to eat more veg I have listed salads like this one or green salads. My office has a very forward thinking cafeteria though. Great recipe!

    1. thank you amanda. sometimes i struggle to get proper food in our lunch bags. it’s not always this put together, but i think there is balance, especially when i can throw in a few pieces of fruit and homemade dessert to snack on in the afternoons, which is the hardest part of the day for me, i’m always soooo hungry by 4pm!

  3. My work lunches are SO BORING–I usually just throw some chicken thighs on the Griddler (although they are seasoned well with salt and pepper) and call it a day along with bringing in a fruit and a yogurt. (I’m like Terry from Brooklyn Nine-Nine in that I LOVE my yogurt.) Otherwise, it’s leftovers combined with fruit and yogurt .

    Good for you for going to yoga at all–what’s important is finding something you love and that you’ll keep doing first and foremost, and as things get easier then you look for ways to challenge yourself. A fitness practice, no matter what it looks like, is good for the soul and the mind as much as it is for the body so keep it up! Thanks for alerting me to a local food concern like this as I have passed on that info to a friend who is super into farming and would be into this initiative, even more than me.

    1. thanks Elizabeth. i think what nudges me along with lunches is that i’m not fixing just MY lunch, i’m keeping in mind someone else’s nutrition. Mr. MoreStomach requires nourishment and if i don’t feed him, he will forget to eat and i can’t have that.

      exercising is a struggle for me, for too long i have relied on my natural frame and relatively good metabolism, not factoring in an office job, stagnant desk seating and advancing age. forming new and good physical habits is hard for me, but i keep trying.

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