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.
- 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
- Place quinoa in a large bowl and shake it lightly so it doesn’t stick.
- 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.
- Add the sweet peppers, green onions, parsley, feta, and mandarin oranges on top of the quinoa. Toss around to combine.
- 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!