Chinese New Year was last week, and all the local Chinese joints around town have been advertising special banquet menus full of deliciousness. However, I’m not sure their sodium-laden, high-carb dishes are the best option right now, so I opted for a homemade version so I don’t feel like I’m missing out.
Usual drill here: less calories, and always trying to make all the grains and carbs the slow-digestion kind. Quinoa also packs a nice protein punch – it’s one of the best plant sources of both protein and calcium, actually – and the mandarin and sesame seeds make for an unusual sweet-but-crunchy combo. So without further ado, here’s how to make a sesame mandarin quinoa salad.


INGREDIENTS:mandarin quinoa salad

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa, drained and cooled
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon splenda or some other sugar substitute
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • ½ cup bell peppers, cut into strips
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions (just the green part)
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 mandarin oranges, peeled and pulled apart
  • Salt and  freshly cracked pepper, to taste


  1. Place quinoa in a large bowl and shake it lightly so it doesn’t stick.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the oils (olive and sesame), vinegar, sugar substitute, salt and pepper. Pour over the resulting dressing all over the quinoa and combine.
  3. Add the sweet peppers, green onions, parsley, feta, and mandarin oranges on top of the quinoa. Toss around to combine.
  4. Keep it in the fridge until it’s time to eat!

This recipe should yield about 3 servings if you make it a main dish, but may be stretched to 4 or 5 if used as a side for some nice chicken breast or even a fried egg (don’t be afraid of the yolk! Turns out it’s got the good kind of cholesterol so long as you pair it nicely). I hope you enjoy, and have a happy year of the goat!


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