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Salad With Quinoa For Beginners

Jun 19, 2014


Yes, quinoa still remains an ingredient in Turkey so obscure and expensive that you have to repeat its name five times until the vendor can pretend he knows it and tell you ''we are out of it''. You are likely to hear the same answer if you inquire about ''tyrannosaur''; they are always out of it.

Those of us who follow international food trends (yes such a thing exist) and food blogs have familiarized with quinoa visually but had to wait a long time until we could lay hands on it. First, the word spread that it could be ordered online then it appeared in a high-end supermarket chain. And to my surprise before I made an effort to travel to that market's branch, I located it in a neighbourhood charcuterie that sells all sorts of imported goods like dried porcini, almond milk and halloumi cheese; a discovery that's likely to boost my contribution to Turkey's trade deficit. 

So, the first time I brought a pack of quinoa after paying an armful of money, I made quinoa salad but not a salad with quinoa, you see. Which means, I treated quinoa like bulgur, putting lots of it vis-à-vis the rest of the ingredients. It yielded a mushy and tasteless tabbouleh (which was unintended) and the more I added oil and vinegar, the mushier it got. I made an effort to like it because have I mentioned I paid lots of money? I hated it anyway, while taking a note to myself not to jump on every fashion train when it comes to food, I put the pack out of my sight.

As the memory of the mushy tabbouleh faded of my palate, I made thruce with quinoa and reasoned that maybe it was not meant to be used in large quantities. Over time, I used it in small amounts, adding it moderately to my salads and came to the conclusion that quinoa can safely exist in my food as a side-kick instead of a leading ingredient. 

In the future, I will probably explore quinoa pilaf and such and most probably love it too but for the time being quinoa remains to bring my salads texture and well... only texture because let's admit, this thing is tasteless. However, it conveniently absorbs whatever sauce you put on it, a trait that assures versatility.

I prepare this salad at least two times a week with crunchy lettuce, fragrant arugula, season's ripe tomatoes at their peak, handful of nuts and sometimes tuna or halloumi. It sends me to bed with a satisfied stomach and a detoxicated, healthy feeling. I can't tell whether it's just the idea of having ate quinoa or if it actually is as healthy as said. Either way, welcome to my life quinoa. 

Kinoa Salatası

Green Salad With Quinoa 

Serves 1

Kitchenware required:

  • a non-stick pan


  • two big handfuls of arugula
  • couple of romaine lettuce leaves
  • a handful of fresh basil leaves, washed and drained
  • 1 ripe tomato, sliced in crescents
  • a handful of pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • salt 
  • balsamic vinegar
  • extra virgin olive oil


  1. Wash and drain quinoa. Boil in 1 cup water for 10 minutes, until white ring appear on the edge of the grains. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside to drain.
  2. Roast pine nuts in a non-stick pan over high heat, tilting the pan constantly back and forth, until they slightly brown. 
  3. Combine all ingredients in a salad bowl. Add salt with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Toss well and correct the seasoning to your liking. 
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