Kale & Quinoa Salad

College is over for the week now. Today was far less exciting than the other two days as it was a student  clinic day. There’s not much to do when there’s no patients, so the hours seem to go a bit longer than usual. But I filled my time well by working on my assignments. Last trimester I made the mistake of leaving them all to the last minute, but I’m determined to not do the same this year. Plus, I figure the more I get done at college, the more time I have at home to do things like blog and spend quality time with Jared.

Last night I was going to share with you all a delicious kale and quinoa salad I made, but I got carried away with my writing, I had to stop before I could! So I’m going to share right now, before I do the same thing again tonight!

This salad came as a bit of an experiment, but it turned out so good we had for dinner, then leftovers for lunch today AND I made some more for dinner tonight! Jared (a.k.a Mr Meatlover) loved it. He gave it the thumbs up and told me I had to make it a staple. And who am I to say no to that?7Quinoa is such a great ingredient to use. It’s a gluten free grain, is high in protein and contains all essential amino acids (perfect for vegans, vegetarians or anyone looking to include more lean protein in their diet), it’s high in fibre, full of plant anti-oxidants like Quercetin and Kaempferol which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties,  contains important minerals like iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. No wonder it’s been dubbed as a superfood!

However, one thing I do have to stress is please be aware of where your quinoa has come from. Due to the superfood status, the demand for them has increased greatly over the years. This increased demand has put much countries like Bolivia (where most of the world’s quinoa comes from) are suffering. It’s one of the poorest countries in the world, and quinoa is eaten there as a staple food by many people. But as demands by western world countries increased, more quinoa was being exported than being kept for domestic consumption. The costs for us as consumers to purchase it are so high, yet the Bolivians are not getting any richer. It seems to be a classic case of the western world exploiting a poorer nation for their resources. It’s sad, but this is why buying locally sourced and/or certified fair trade (if purchasing from overseas) produce and products is so important.

Sorry for the little rant there guys, but I find it hard to stop once I get into something I’m really passionate about! Just be thankful you don’t live with me. It’s worse in person, I assure you! Poor Jared hears me chattering away non stop about things like food, the health system, the food system, fair trade, slave labour, poverty and the environment all the time. I think it’s important to care though. Someone has to, right?

Back to the recipe at hand though! The quinoa I use is Australian, and I got it from the Source. It’s great quality, and locally grown and supplied and no third world country was taken advantage of for me to eat it!8When preparing the quinoa, make sure you rinse it in a sieve and wash well by rubbing the grain in your hands. If you don’t do this, the quinoa will taste bitter. I cook mine in a rice cooker, with a ratio of 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups vegetable stock. But I like my quinoa a little on the soft/mushy side. If you like it fluffier and firmer, 1 and ¾ cups should do it!

I then just take it out of the rice cooker once it’s cooked (but still leaving it in the rice cooker bowl), add all the chopped veggies and seasonings and stir it in the bowl with a wooden spoon. This is purely to save time, hassle and washing up!11 14 18 19I served it last night with some beautiful grass fed steaks from MuMu (I’ll be doing a review of them soon – but I can already tell you now it’s going to be a positive one from what I’ve tasted).9 10 12 13 15 1620 21Tonight I changed up the veggies a bit and swapped the capsicum for baby corn and raw broccoli, and then swapped the olive oil for sesame oil. Then served it up with some roasted free range chicken. The baby corn and sesame oil gave it such an Asian style taste about it! I really do love that it’s so versatile!23Feel free to get creative and use whatever veg or seasoning you like. It’s a fun dish, so play around with it! And above all, make sure your quinoa was sourced locally or by fair trade means!

Laura x

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