Get instant access to my mason jar salad recipe e-cookbook here! I share 19 of my best mason jar salads along with tips, tricks, and tutorial.
I think it is time for me to try quinoa. I see it everywhere. Quinoa recipes show up all the time on my favorite food blogs and in food magazines. There are endless recipes on Pinterest.
There are even entire cooks dedicated to it! An entire cookbook about Quinoa? Yes I tell you no lie.
So why haven’t I tried it yet? Simple. I just haven’t. I am comfortable with the foods I like and even though I love to try new foods I often forget to because I forget. Make sense?
Well as I grocery shopped last weekend I came across a big bag of organic quinoa at my local warehouse store. Immediately I thought “hey, I have been wanting to try quinoa for some time. I am going to get this”. So, I bought the bag and that my friends is my “how I got started eating quinoa” story. Yes I know super thrilling and exciting.
I decided to do a little quinoa research before I prepared it. Good thing cause apparently it is really important to rinse the quinoa before cooking it. Quinoa has a coating on it that can taste quite bitter. However, if you rinse it real good then that will not be a problem. I soaked mine in water for about 1 -2 minutes then I strained through a mesh strainer. Some of the quinoa did fall through the strainer but it wasn’t a huge deal.
The instructions on the back of the bag called for cooking 1-cup quinoa in 1 ½ cups water. I used chicken stock and added a pinch of salt. I rarely ever use plain water when cooking rice, bulgur, or any other grain (except oats). Flavor flavor flavor! Quinoa is actually a seed not a grain but it cooks like a grain so lets not make this confusing. Anyway, that liquid/quinoa ratio worked perfectly. I have seen some recipes call for 2 cups of liquid but that seemed like a lot. 1 ½ resulted in cooked fluffy quinoa.
If you are not sure how to cook quinoa then check out my quick how to video.
For my first quinoa recipe I decided to use it in a mason jar salad. I have other ideas but I wanted to start with this so I can get an idea with flavors and texture. I started with a light Italian dressing (Newmans Own) then added tomatoes, peppers, quinoa, goat cheese, roasted pumpkin seeds, and arugula. **I usually do not like light dressing but Newmans Own is pretty good.
The results. Where do I begin? This salad is awesome! And I didn’t realize it at the time but it is also vegetarian. But despite no meat it is still very filling. Quinoa has lots of protein and fiber to fill you up and keep your body satisfied. I love the tang of the goat cheese and spice of the arugula mixed into this salad. Yum. For a salty crunch I added some salted roasted pumpkin seeds. So good.
Please note I made 6 mason jar salads out of this recipe instead of 5. I wanted to use up all the quinoa so I prepared one more salad.
I must say my first run with quinoa has been a success. I am already thinking of different ways to use it. What are your suggestions? Do you have any favorite quinoa recipes?
See my mason jar salad tutorial and recipe round up here.
- 6 quart size wide mouth glass mason jars
- 12 tablespoons light Italian dressing I use Newmans Own
- 1 quart cherry tomatoes halved
- 3 bell peppers I used red and yellow, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 red onion chopped
- 3 cups cooked quinoa
- 6 ounces goat cheese
- 1/4 cup salted and roasted pumpkin seeds
- 3 cups baby arugula
- Divide all the ingredients among the mason jars. Start with the salad dressing then add tomatoes, pepper, onion, quinoa, goat cheese, pumpkin seeds, and finish with baby arugula. Put the lid on and place salads in the refrigerator.
These salads can be made 5-6 days ahead of time.