Quinoa salad – a complete meal powered with plant protein!

Quinoa with root vegetables and asparagus

This recipe can be eaten warm or cold. Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) is a seed but, is considered a whole grain which is high in protein and fibre. It is a complete protein as it contains all nine essential amino acids, which our bodies cannot make on their own. To power up this recipe nutritionally with proteins I have also used adzuki beans.

Red Quinoa cooked

For this recipe I chose the red quinoa as I prefer the taste and texture when used in salads. It is useful to know that quinoa comes in different colours including white, black, and red. The most seen variety is the pearl white quinoa which can be used as a great substitute for rice. It has a mild taste but is a complete protein, containing all the nine essential amino acids. It is high in fibre and a great source of calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and manganese. It also cooks quickly. The red variety has a stronger flavour and is nuttier and crunchier to taste. It is great for salads. It takes 3-4 minutes longer to cook but, it too is a complete protein however, it has slightly lower amounts of vitamins and minerals but is higher in fibre. The black quinoa is even higher in fibre however, it takes longer to cook and has a strong taste.

Beetroot, Asparagus and Sweet Potato

The other main ingredients used are :

Beetroot : which is high in fibre but, also rich in Vitamin C, Folate (vitamin B9), Iron, Manganese, Potassium – it lowers blood pressure and increases exercise capacity

Sweet Potato : is a very nutritious food – a great source of fibre and incredibly rich in vitamins like Vitamin A, C, B6 and minerals like Manganese, Potassium, Copper and Niacin. Sweet potatoes are beneficial for promoting gut health and useful for facilitating bowel movements. They have high levels of antioxidants which help prevent free radical damage. Sweet potatoes are also rich in beta-carotene which makes Vitamin A and therefore enhances your vision and also helps boost your immune system

Asparagus : is a another nutrient rich and tasty vegetable. It is high in fibre, a great source for Vitamins A, C, and K and Folic Acid, so a great food to have during pregnancy. Additionally, it is a great pre-biotic, which is food for the good bacteria in your gut and therefore aids in maintaining a healthy gut. It also helps lower blood pressure. Since it has high water content and therefore low calories it enables weight loss

Ingredients :

1 beetroot

2 sweet potatoes

10 stalks of asparagus

1 cup adzuki beans

4 cherry tomatoes

a bunch of parsley

a few sprigs of rosemary

1 small onion

2 garlic pods

1/4 cup of olive oil

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp cracked black pepper

Method :

1. Soak the adzuki beans and quinoa overnight

2. Boil the adzuki beans for 30 minutes

3. Boil the quinoa for 15 minutes

4. Put the adzuki beans and quinoa which have been boiled separately, aside to drain the water

5. Chop the beetroot and sweet potatoes into small squares

6. Place the chopped beetroot and sweet potatoes with the whole asparagus stalks in a pyrex dish and pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil over them

7. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and black pepper and chopped rosemary and then grill for 20 minutes at 180 C

8. In the meantime cook the beans with the onion, garlic, olive oil, rest of the salt and pepper on low fire for 5 mins

Cooked adzuki beans with olive oil, onions, garlic, salt and pepper

9. Let the asparagus cool down a bit and then slice them

10. Chop the cherry tomatoes, parsley and rosemary

Chopped cherry tomatoes, parsley and rosemary

10. Mix all the cooked ingredients into a bowl and toss in the parsley and cherry tomatoes and drizzle extra virgin olive oil.

It is now ready to be eaten – enjoy!

Quinoa, adzuki beans, beetroot, sweet potatoes, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, parsley


Author: Healthybalance

I am a certified integrative nutrition health coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. I run workshops on wellness and work with clients individually. My coaching involves enabling clients to address the root cause of any imbalances in their lives and to empower them to become advocates for themselves so that they can make long-term changes that lead to their optimum health and wellness. The work of an integrative nutrition health coach is to help clients understand the synergy that exists between the primary areas in ones life like sleep, exercise, satisfaction in our relationships, career and other such domains and the food we eat. I work with young adults ages 12 and above and women, mostly pertaining to weight loss, gut issues, and hormonal imbalances.

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