Thursday, August 8, 2013

Hawaiian Quinoa Salad

Summer always reminds me of traveling to one of my favorite destinations in the world, Hawaii.  Drenched in sunshine and the sweet scent of plumeria, my mother and I visited pineapple farms, ate pineapple ice cream, indulged in chocolate covered macadamia nuts and soaked up the flavors of the island.  This Hawaiian Quinoa Salad combines all of my favorite and most cherished flavors of summer, salt air and Hawaiian pineapple farms.  I've added mango to the mix because the rich flavors and delicate texture of the mango fruit always make me think of sunshine.  Just another way to summer up this awesome salad.

Having a fully stocked Asian pantry makes it easy to create delicious marinades and dressings like the one I've used for this salad.  This week, I've loaded up on all of my must have Asian cooking staples like mirin, rice vinegar, sesame oil, tamari, nori sheets, green noodles, sushi rice, green tea and coconut milk. For the perishables, I've got green onion, miso paste, coconuts, pineapple, bell peppers, and organic sprouted tofu.  That big brown fruit behind the red bell pepper is Hawaiian taro root for a Taro Root Cheesecake that I'll be making later this week.

Since I was stocking up goodies today, I grabbed some of these summertime beauties as well.

Ok, time to get cooking!  This Hawaiian Quinoa Salad brings together all of the bright colors and flavors of summer into one nutritious salad that everyone will love!  Here we go!

Makes 8-10 Servings

1/2 medium white or yellow onion, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 1/4  cup quinoa
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup light coconut milk
1 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 to 2 mango, diced (or 1 1/2 cup fresh pineapple, diced)
1 cup toasted macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
6 green onions, sliced

Dressing ingredients

1 1/2 Tablespoons white mellow miso
1 1/2 Tablespoons low sodium tamari or soy sauce
3 Tablespoons pineapple juice
1 1/2 teaspoons mirin
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 1/2 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1. In a medium sized saucepan, add the onion, garlic, and sesame oil.  Saute on medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the onions are softened.
2.  Add the dry quinoa and stir until toasted.  (This will make for a fluffy quinoa). 
3.  Add organic vegetable broth and coconut milk.  Bring to boil, reduce to simmer and cover.  Cook until all of the liquid is absorbed (about 20 minutes) and the quinoa is fluffy.  Give the quinoa a stir to make sure all the liquid is absorbed.  If not, allow to cook for a few additional minutes.  Once the quinoa is cooked, remove from heat and allow it to cool.
4.  While your quinoa is cooling, dice your bell pepper and mango.  To dice mango: Slice the fruit in half around the core.  Take each half and cut a criss-cross pattern.  Then push up on the center of the skin side of each slice to push up the criss-crossed pieces.  Then cut off each piece for easy, diced mango.

5.  Chop the macadamia nuts and slice the green onions.
6.  Combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and stir.
7.  Add chopped bell pepper, mango, macadamia and green onions to cooled quinoa.  Gently fold ingredients into quinoa.  Pour dressing over salad and gently stir. Let chill in the refrigerator for an hour and up to overnight. 

We had a bbq today to enjoy the beautiful ocean view and served up Black Bean Veggie Burgers with Veggie Kabobs to accompany the Hawaiian Quinoa Salad.

After our Hawaiian feast, we took a walk down to the pier to enjoy this beautiful sunset

Thank you for stopping by the Venturing Vegan blog!  All views are greatly appreciated and please share any and all recipes with friends and family!  Recipes should be like the summer sun, enjoyed by all and always free!  If you tried this recipe and loved it, please comment below and let me know your thoughts. Enjoy and have a wonderful summer!


  1. Normally quinoa needs to be rinsed before cooking. Am I understanding correctly that the quinoa is NOT rinsed before toasting in the pan with the onion and garlic? I am making this for a teacher appreciation luncheon on Wednesday and I want to do it right the first time, lol!

  2. OK, I purchased the pre-rinsed kind to use for this recipe. I'll let you know how it turns out.