High-Performance Quinoa

by Anne Bennett on June 29, 2015

Quinoa Salad

Colorful, low in fat and bursting with the flavors of mango, lime juice and cilantro.

What are you grilling this weekend? I’m asking because it’s the 4th of July and there’s nothing more American than firing up the grill and cooking outside.

But what can you serve alongside the burgers or kebabs that isn’t too filling, too fattening or too guilt-inducing? Ah, there’s the rub! Pam, a fellow Weight Watcher, sent me this low-fat recipe she got in an email from the University of Kansas athletic department. I know what you’re thinking, a recipe from an athletic department?* Thanks, Pam, for marching to the beat of a different drummer. This salad rocks!

I’m guessing that the name, High-Performance Quinoa, harkens to the fact that it’s made with quinoa, a high-protein grain, and edamame,** green soybeans that are also high in protein. Athletes like protein.

When I first decided to make this salad, the only mango I could find was rock hard and green. The supermarket produce man told me to put it in a brown paper bag and leave it for 3 days or so to ripen. He was right on: in exactly 3 days it was perfect. Mangoes can be challenging to cut up. You have two choices — hack into it as best you can or go to mango.org for easy-to-follow directions that will yield maximum fruit with minimum frustration. If you’ve never eaten a mango, now is the time. The salad is delicious on its own, but the mango makes it sing.

There’s no fat in the balsamic vinegar/lime juice dressing.  (I added 1 Tbsp. of olive oil because, after all, this is a salad dressing.) I also didn’t add the coconut because I didn’t have any. The salad is terrific without it.

This salad is only 5 WW Points per one-cup serving, so you can enjoy it guilt-free alongside your grilled entree. Leftovers keep for several days in the fridge and are just as good the next day for lunch.

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
6 oz. edamame, cooked**
1 bunch cilantro, stemmed & chopped
1 small red onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 mango, diced
1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds
1/2 cup. shredded coconut
2 1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Juice of 1 lime

Cook quinoa per package instructions, fluff with a fork and allow to cool. Cook edamame, drain and set aside to cool.

Combine cilantro, onion, bell pepper, mango, almonds and coconut in a large serving bowl. When quinoa and edamame are cool, add to bowl. Stir together balsamic vinegar and lime juice and gently toss into salad.

*After searching the Internet for similar fare, I found that Whole Foods Market sells a salad at their deli bar, “California Quinoa Salad” that is identical with the exception that it includes raisins. See? There are no original ideas.

**You can find edamame in 1-lb.bags in the vegetable freezer section. They thaw and cook in a small amount of salted water in about 5 minutes.

Serves 8
WW Points per 1 cup serving: 5

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