June is here so let's consider summer has started!
It's that time of the year when we are all craving for salads, fresh desserts, exotic fruits, and ice cream.
Let's start with something salty, who's up for a quinoa salad packed with Thai flavors? Fresh, easy to prepare and so tasty! Ready to dig in?
Quinoa makes the base of this salad. For the add-ins, I went with baby corn, fennel, shiitakes, toasted coconut and red cabbage. Baby corn cooks a lot faster than the larger ones, and can usually be found in Asian stores.
The star of the recipe is the dressing. It's a combination of full-fat coconut milk (bring the creaminess!), peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, lime juice and some maple syrup to add some sweetness and contrast with the sambal oelek. Sambal is a spicy, Indonesian chili pepper paste, it can be subbed for sriracha or hot sauce if you don't have it on hand.
Quick advice: make sure to use the sambal "oelek", not the "badjak" one. The latter is super extra mega spicy, I once bought the wrong one by mistake and my taste buds took a big hit, not in a nice way.
This salad yields about 8 servings, I told you it's a BIG one! It's perfect for when you have guests, or just want to have leftovers for a few days!
It can be served warm but I prefer it fresh, drizzled with some lime juice and topped with coconut chips and roasted peanuts. Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!
Big Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad
- 1 and ½ cup quinoa
- 3 cups water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1- inch ginger grated
- 9 baby corns diced
- ½ cup chopped fennel about 1 large fennel, diced and leafy fronds cut off
- 8-10 fresh shiitakes or cremini mushrooms, sliced, stems removed
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
Peanut Coconut Sauce
- ¼ cup fresh basil chopped
- ½ cup red cabbage finely chopped
- ¼ cup coconut chips toasted
- 1 large avocado
- roasted peanuts, lime, sesame seeds optional
- In a medium size saucepan, combine the quinoa, water, and salt. Bring to a boil and let simmer uncovered 15-17 minutes, or until the quinoa is cooked and almost no water remains. Once cooked, transfer to a large salad bowl.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Add the chopped baby corn and fennel, increase the heat to medium-high and sautée until the corn starts to brown slightly, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low-medium, add 2 tablespoon water and cover with a lid. Continue to cook, stirring regularly to prevent sticking, for 15-20 minutes. The fennel and corn should be tender. If you prefer it a bit crunchy, cook for only 10-12 minutes.
- Add the shiitakes and soy sauce and cook uncovered for another 5-7 minutes, until the mushrooms are soft. Remove from heat and set aside.
Peanut Coconut Sauce
- In a bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed, more maple syrup for sweetness, soy sauce for saltiness or lime juice for sourness.
- You can serve this salad two ways: divide the quinoa into serving bowls, top with the sautéed vegetables, fresh basil, red cabbage, avocado slices, toasted coconut and a generous drizzle of peanut coconut sauce. Or, mix everything in a large bowl until well combined. I prefer the latter, the quinoa is super creamy and everything is well coated with the sauce.
- This salad is best served fresh, chilled for at least 2 hours in the fridge but is also delicious warm! It will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator, just make sure to give it a good stir before serving.
- Basil can be subbed for fresh coriander and baby corn can be replaced with about ½ cup of whole kernel corn.
- Nutrition information includes the add-ins (avocado, coconut chips, etc).