By Samantha
Posted: Updated:

My first time making quinoa was not a good experience. It was probably about 10 years ago, before quinoa hit its hype stride. I tried using it in place of rice in a stir-fry dish and I was sorely disappointed by its texture. If I were not so OCD about food waste, it probably would have gone in the trash!

Now I have come to learn there’s a time and a place for quinoa. I think it does wonders for vegetable dishes, salads and soups, the way it adds a great crunchiness and texture.

One of the best quinoa dishes I ever had was at Zoubi’s in New Hope, and I’ve been trying to recreate the dish at home ever since. The Crunchy Hipster Salad, as they called it, had house-pickled veg, nuts/seeds and dried fruit. It was different every time we went, and it was delicious every time, which leads me to believe the formula is fairly simple.

Quinoa + pickled veg + nuts/seeds + dried fruit + simple dressing =

healthy lunch or dinner when you need it

I have made this salad a handful of times and it always ends up very flavorful and also very filling! A quick pickle of whatever veg you have in the house will do. I had some beautiful watermelon radishes and beets from Blue Moon Acres so those were a no-brainer. I love pumpkin seeds here, but you could also use sunflower or slivered almonds. Rehydrated cranberries or golden raisins add some much needed sweetness. Finally, a dressing created with the vinegar from the quick-pick, some bright citrus and olive oil is all you really need.

Crunchy Hipster Salad

Inspired by Zoubi Restaurant

Serves 4

2 cups quinoa, prepared to package description

6 small watermelon radishes, thinly sliced

4 small beets, any color, peeled & thinly sliced

½ small red onion, thinly sliced

1/3 cup golden raisins, soaked in hot water for 5 minutes

1/3 cup pumpkin seeds

1 cup of your favorite vinegar (white, rice, apple cider all work well)

1 small lemon wedge

  • Thinly slice all vegetables with a mandolin.
  • In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup of vinegar,1/2 cup water and a pinch of sugar and salt to a boil. Throw in the sliced beets and let them boil for about 5 minutes to soften them. Turn off heat and let cool before putting in a container (with a lid). Mix in red onions, put on the lid and store in the fridge.
  • In another small container (with a lid), cover watermelon radishes with ½ cup of vinegar and ½ cup of water. Store in fridge.
  • Let the veg sit in the vinegar for at least 30 minutes to an hour (can be done the night before).
  • After the veg has been taken care of, cook the quinoa to the package directions.
  • Fluff quinoa with a fork, and let cool in the fridge for about 30 minutes, until the pickled vegetables are ready to use.
  • In a large bowl mix up the quinoa with all of the vegetables, pouring in small amounts of the pickling liquid at a time until you get to a vinegar level you are happy with. I find that it takes about ½ a cup.
  • Drizzle in some olive oil, squeeze with a small lemon wedge, season with salt and serve!
About the Author

Grazin' in New Jersey since 1988

Related Posts

Either the New Jersey winters are getting colder, or I’m getting older. Either way, spending time...

As with many things in life, you can never truly know everything about cooking. There are so many...

I’m going to keep this short and sweet, because it’s beautiful out and days like this are a serious...