I was skeptical about the super food, Quinoa when I first heard about it, not for its nutritive value but for its appeal to my South Indian palate. One of my first concerns was how I would make this relatively bland food more acceptable to my spice-addicted taste buds, but not for too long! I took to an instant liking to quinoa when a friend of mine once offered me simple home-made quinoa salad for lunch. The salad in fact, was quite filling, still light on stomach. The recipe for quinoa salad is simple and easy.

Quinoa              – 1 cup

Water                – 1 1/2 cup

Olive oil            – 1 tsp

Tomato             – 1 cup cubed

Cucumber         – 1/2 cup cubed

cilantro              – 1/4 cup chopped

green onion       – 1/2 cup chopped

mint leaves        – 2 tblsp chopped

salt                       – to taste

black pepper      – 1 tsp crushed

green chilli         – 1 chopped(optional)

lemon                  -1/2 juiced

Wash quinoa thoroughly and strain. In a pan, keep water to boil. Add quinoa and salt and let it cook. Switch off the stove and let the quinoa cool. Add in the chopped vegetables and other ingredients. Keep in the refrigerator to cool. Mix well and serve cold.

You can also do other healthy variations to this recipe by adding different combinations of vegetables like corn, bell pepper, onion, pomegranate, pickled olives, sun-dried tomatoes etc. You can add grated ginger for an extra zing or feta cheese for a twist. Use your creativity to bring a change in taste.


I have also used quinoa as a substitute for a regular dish like upma(Indian semolina dish) or pulav. Still, the salad is my personal favorite. Quinoa’s status as a super ‘grain’ is in fact a misnomer. It is a ‘seed’ rich in protein that delivers almost all the amino acids required by our body. It is also gluten-free and wheat-free which makes it a hot commodity among consumers intolerant to these components. It is rich in phosphorous, magnesium and iron, and is a good source of dietary fiber. These are reasons enough to incorporate this healthy substitute in my family’s menu more often than before 🙂

To give a brief history, Quinoa got its name from Spanish and its origin is in the Andean regions of Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Bolivia and Columbia.


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