I first tasted this beautiful salad when it was prepared in a cooking class I attended. Full of texture and flavors, it’s perfect for a holiday menu. This guest recipe was developed by Chef AJ, my friend and colleague in plant-based, SOS-free cooking.
Chef AJ of Eat Unprocessed has followed a plant-based diet for over 36 years and is a chef and culinary instructor in Los Angeles. She is also the creator and co-producer of Healthy Taste of LA. You can watch Chef AJ make this recipe on her show, The Chef & the Dietician. (Thank you to Wendy at Healthy Girl’s Kitchen for the gorgeous photo.)
2½ cups water
1¼ cups (8 ounces) uncooked quinoa
½ cup lime juice (about 3 large limes)
3 tablespoons lime zest (from the 3 limes above)
4 medium green onions (scallions), chopped
1 cup Italian parsley leaves, packed (1 ounce), finely chopped
1 cup fresh mint leaves, packed (1 ounce), finely chopped
1 cup currants
½ cup raw, unsalted pistachios, whole or coarsely chopped
½ cup pomegranate seeds (when in season)
1. To cook the quinoa, place it in a medium saucepan along with the water. Bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook covered for 20 minutes. After cooking, set the quinoa aside to cool. (The quinoa may also be cooked ahead of time so that it is completely cooled when you are ready to assemble the salad.)
2. To zest the limes, use a Microplane or other small-toothed grater, and then juice the limes (it’s much easier to zest any citrus before juicing it).
3. Once the quinoa has cooled, place it into a large bowl and add all of the other ingredients, including lime juice and zest. Mix thoroughly. Serve immediately or chill to serve later.
Preparation: 25 minutes (not including quinoa cooling time)
Cooking: 20 minutes (quinoa)
Serves: 6 to 8 (makes 8 cups)
Variations: If you do not have limes, orange juice and zest work well; raisins or chopped, dried cherries work well in place of currants; and chopped pecans work well in place of pistachios.
Quinoa: Quinoa comes in various colors: white/yellow, red, black, or a mix of all three. Any color works in this recipe; the multi-colored quinoa gives it even more visual appeal. To learn more about quinoa and see photos of the varieties, see my Holiday Quinoa Dressing recipe.
Serving size: This is a great party or special occasion dish for 6 to 8 people. Double the recipe if you are serving a larger group.
If you make this recipe and enjoy it, please share a comment below or on my Facebook page. If you’d like to print this recipe, use the green “Print” button near the top-right of the recipe. Learn more about the Straight Up Food Cookbook here. Thank you!