A healthy meal: Quinoa salad

January 14, 2008 6:21:44 PM PST
Make a nutritious and delicious salad that will help you lose weight and still tastes great!

This is the time of year that everyone is working out and thinking how they can eat healthy. Why not create a nutritious salad for your family that gets a great boost from a unique ingredient? Mat Schuster is the food and beverage manager and Amy Baertschi, nutritionist, at the San Francisco Bay Club. They were here to share with us this wonderful secret.

The San Francisco Bay Club
150 Greenwich Street
San Francisco, CA 94111
Phone: (415) 433-2200
Email: info@sfbayclub.com
Web site: www.sfbayclub.com

In the middle of winter, our bodies need some good food sources to keep us active and enjoying every minute. This salad is packed with nutrition that gets a great boost from quinoa. An ancient food staple of the Incas, quinoa has been grown in the South American Andes for thousands of years. This whole grain is high in protein and calcium and is joined by iron, phosphorous, B vitamins, Vitamin E and fiber. Add some great greens such as parsley and spinach for vitamin C and chlorophyll and lemon juice to help absorb minerals. These ingredients are readily available at many markets and will only take you about half and hour to prepare, including cooking the quinoa!

Quinoa Salad with Almonds and Greens
Serves 8

1/2 cup vegetable stock or water
1/2 cup quinoa
1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juice and zest
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 medium red onion, finely diced
2 cup mixed greens; spinach, arugula, baby lettuces, kale, or herbs
1/2 cup lightly roasted almonds
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper taste

Place the quinoa in a bowl of cold water and soak for 30 minutes or overnight. Using your hand rub, rinse, and drain the quinoa several times to remove any saponins. Saponins act as an anti-nutrient and should be removed before cooking, it's nature's natural insecticide. Heat the vegetable stock or water in a saucepan to a boil. Stir in the quinoa and simmer on low heat, covered for 20 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Add remaining ingredients, mix and serve.

For variations, add olives, capers, cilantro, mint, cucumber, feta, cashews, green onion, sesame seeds, sumac, or chives.

Other Recipes:

Quiche with Quinoa, Spinach and Roasted Red Bell Peppers
Serves 8

1 tsp olive oil
1 shallot
1 clove garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
2 cups spinach
5 eggs
1 cup milk
roasted red bell pepper strips (from 2 red bell peppers)
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup cooked quinoa
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
non stick spray

To Cook Quinoa:
Place the quinoa in a bowl of cold water and soak for 30 minutes or overnight. Using your hand rub, rinse, and drain the quinoa several times to remove any saponins. (Saponins act as an anti-nutrient and should be removed before cooking.) Heat the water in a saucepan to a boil. Stir in the quinoa and simmer on low heat, covered for 20 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

To Roast Red Bell Pepper:
Place red bell pepper directly on the flame of a gas burner and char all over until black. Can also be done in the oven under broiler. Place in a small paper bag and seal to steam/cool. When cool, take pepper from bag and remove skin and seeds. Slice into strips.

Heat olive oil on a sauté pan over medium heat. Add shallot and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add oregano and spinach to wilt. Cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs and milk. Strain into another medium bowl with fine mesh strainer. Season with salt and pepper. Add cheese and quinoa. Add cooked veggies, making sure they are at room temperature. Mix well.

Heat oven to 350.

Spray a standard muffin pan (not mini) with pan spray. Place mixture into each muffin well. Fill muffin tin and bake in oven for about 20 ? 25 minutes or until quiche are set in the middle. Cool and remove from pan.

Oven Braised Ginger Vegetables
Serves 6
This is a delicious vegan entrée that melds perfectly with the nutty flavors of quinoa. Serve vegetables over plain cooked quinoa or alone as a side dish to any savory meat entrée, such as lamb or pork.

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tsp honey
3 Tbsp fresh shredded ginger
1 Tbsp lemon juice
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste, divided
½ pound green beans, stems removed, halved
1 large carrot, cut on the bias
1 # Yukon potato, small dice
1 shallot, cut in half moons

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Whisk oil, honey, ginger, lemon juice, salt and pepper together. Toss vegetables in sauce. Place in oven safe gratin dish and cover with foil. Bake in oven, turning occasionally, for about 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Quinoa Facts:

  • Quinoa is truly an ancient food. It was one of three staple foods, along with corn and potatoes, of the Inca civilization living in the Andes Mountains of South America.
  • Origins in Incan cooking can be traced back almost 5,000 years.
  • Inca's called it the "Mother Grain".
  • Over 1800 varieties available.
  • Contains more protein than any other grain. 1 cup = 250 calories, 40g carbohydrate,10g protein, 4g fat, 4g fiber.
    High in Potassium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus
  • Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all essential amino acids. Animal proteins are complete proteins, therefore quinoa can replace animal protein when looking for vegan alternatives.
  • Low Glycemic Index
  • Easy to digest; not sticky or heavy like other grains.
  • Can be substituted for other grains as a side dish.

    Quinoa Salad

  • Low in Saturated Fat, High in Vitamins and Minerals
  • By adding mixed greens, you add additional vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin K, folic acid, and several B vitamins
  • Parsley adds additional Vitamin K, as well as Vitamin C.
  • Almonds add heart healthy monounsaturated fats, fiber, and minerals, such as calcium and iron.


  • Different take on a traditional breakfast.
  • Makes a great addition to brunch.
  • By adding quinoa, you're increasing protein even more, as well as fiber and minerals.

    Oven Braised Ginger Vegetables

  • Just an example of how easy it is to incorporate quinoa in many different dishes.
  • Replaces white rice or other refined pastas for: stir fry, curries, stews, chili

    About Mat Schuster:
    Mat Schuster is a Bay area chef, cooking teacher and Nutrition Educator. While finishing his undergrad degree at Emory University, Mat traveled abroad to Italy where he cultivated his love for cooking. Upon returning to the United States, Mat joined up at the California Culinary Academy's College of Food in San Diego and most recently Bauman College in Berkeley where he attained his Nutrition Educator status. Mat has been a class manager and cooking instructor for Draeger's Culinary Center in the Bay area and Cooking Class Coordinator and Instructor for Whole Foods Market. Currently, Mat is the Caf? Manger at the San Francisco Bay Club. Mat also continues to teach cooking classes for Parties that Cook, Whole Foods Market, Sur la Table, Ramekins and others.

    About Amy Baertschi:
    Amy comes to the San Francisco Bay Club from a clinical nutrition setting where she provided critical care physicians with nutrition support recommendations and taught healthy eating solutions to patients (and families/caregivers) in order to prevent the progression of chronic diseases. Now, at the SF Bay Club, she will continue to encourage healthy eating by giving sound nutritional advice to clients seeking to improve and optimize their overall nutrition profile. Amy's philosophy: Practicing good eating habits and engaging in physical activity are keys to good physical, mental, and emotional health. "We have a choice about what we eat, so we should make it count!"

    Amy Baertschi obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Economics from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1997. But soon after graduating, she decided to follow her passion for food and nutrition and began her studies to become a registered dietitian at California State University at Long Beach. After completing her didactic program in dietetics, Amy went on to complete a dietetic internship with the University of California at Berkeley. Recently, she has completed her Master's Degree in Nutritional Science from San Jose State University as well as a Certificate on Adult Weight Management with the American Dietetic Association. Amy is currently a member of the American Dietetic Association, the California Dietetic Association, the Bay Area Dietetic Association, and Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutritionists (SCAN).