Crunchy Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad

Image by Monique at Tasty Kitchen
I love salads that take me beyond that standard lettuce with extras realm and have published several on my website such as Rainbow Slaw, Aida's Corn, Tomato and Avocado SaladRice Noodle and Vegetable Salad and more. The 3 mentioned are full of colourful vegetables and have a bit of staying power so that leftovers are a delight instead of a wilted mess.

For a salad that lasts, let go of the lettuce and embrace Cabbage (red gives a beautiful colour), Kale, Carrots, Red Onion, snap peas, Peppers, raw corn (yes, cut right off the cob) and other firmer offerings.  They won't break down as quickly so that you can double the recipe and have leftovers the next day.  Always a plus in my busy schedule.

Fusion food is another passion of mine whether taking a specific ingredient and using in a unique way, adding an ethnic flare to a standard dish or combining elements from several cultures successfully. I am enthralled. One of my favourites shared on this site? Yam Pad Thai! Other goodies include - Thai Chicken Tacos, Thai Slaw and Asian Inspired Potatoes. So the idea of a Quinoa Salad with a hint of Asia fits the bill perfectly.

Today's offering is a salad whose title suggests a touch of Thai. The hint comes from the dressing created with peanut butter and fresh ginger.  In my personal opinion, anything labeled Thai should also have at least a bit of heat, but that's not included here. After trying it as is once to get a feel for what I like and what I would like to change, I am going to explore adding that element. There is an optional addition of Edamame or Chickpeas if you want to make this a whole meal salad. Tonight I'm using it as a side dish.

Image by Monique at Tasty Kitchen
One note I want to make is that I first found this recipe at The Ambitious Kitchen, but in a search today found the website not active.  This recipe shows up on other sites including The Tasty Kitchen - a cooking community - where it is credited to Monique. At the bottom of this recipe it noted Monique maintains a recipe box at The Tasty Kitchen and - drum roll please - is also the writer of The Ambitious Kitchen blog. Mystery solved!

Crunchy Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad
Serves 6 (note - really depends on the salad passion of those eating - I always need to make more.) 

For the Salad
¾ c          uncooked quinoa 
              (I love to mix regular, red and black for colour)
1-2 c        shredded red cabbage
1              red bell pepper, diced
½             red onion, diced
1 c           shredded carrots
½ c          chopped cilantro
¼ c          diced green onions
½ c          cashew halves or peanuts (honey-roasted is good)
Optional: 1 cup edamame or chickpeas
Fresh lime, for a bit of tang

For the dressing:
¼ c         all natural peanut butter
2 tsps      freshly grated ginger
3 T         soy sauce, gluten-free if desired
1 T         honey (use agave if vegan)
1 T         red wine vinegar
1 tsp       sesame oil
1 tsp       olive oil
Water to thin, if necessary


To cook quinoa: Rinse with cold water in mesh strainer. In a saucepan, bring 1 ½ cups of water to a boil. Add in quinoa and bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed all of the water. Remove from heat and fluff quinoa with fork; place in large bowl and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes. You should have a little over 2 cups of quinoa.

To make dressing: Add peanut butter and honey or agave to a medium microwave safe bowl; heat in microwave for 20 seconds. Add in ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, and both sesame and olive oil and stir until mixture is smooth and creamy. If you want a thinner dressing, simply stir in a teaspoon or two of water or olive oil.

Add as much or as little dressing as you’d like to the quinoa. Next fold in red pepper, onion, cabbage, carrots, and cilantro into the quinoa. Garnish with cashews and green onions. Serve chilled or at room temperature with lime wedges if desired.