A delish quinoa dish for Passover (or anytime): Citrus Quinoa Salad

This Monday marks the start of Passover, the Jewish celebration commemorating the freedom of the Jews from slavery in ancient Egypt.  There are many symbols of the festival but none is better known than matzo.  In their haste to flee Egypt, the Jews could not wait for their bread to rise and thus, unleavened bread was eaten.  And to this day, this unleavened bread, matzo is an integral part of Passover.

Matzo varieties used to be limited to plain (refined wheat) and egg matzo. Between the refined grains and low water content, matzo left many with assorted GI complaints including constipation. Nowadays you can find whole wheat varieties with added bran,  spelt and even gluten-free options.

For Sephardi Jews, those whose ancestors originated from Spain and fled following the Inquisition, dried peas and beans and other grains such as corn and rice are permitted, making for a much happier tummy.

ee-quinoaSaladAnd then quinoa came along. As it is not one of the five grains not permitted, it was  a very welcome addition to the Passover  menu.  It offers a host of health perks including more than 5 grams of fiber per cooked cup – a solution for those who yearn for some fibre during Passover. It’s also packed with protein, a plus for vegetarians whose options at this time of year are limited.

As quinoa fields may be contaminated with barley, looking for kosher for Passover quinoa is a solution.

Here is one of my favourite quinoa dishes and actually prepared in the way I tasted it the very first time I had it – almost 20 years ago – alongside grilled tuna at a restaurant in South Beach. I had no idea what it was and when I asked and was given an answer, I still had no idea what the chef was talking about.  My response: what’s quinoa?

Times have certainly changed! Enjoy the salad – it has become a Passover staple in our house.

Citrus Quinoa Salad

Makes 6-8 servings

1 cup quinoa
2 cups orange juice
1 cup diced cucumber
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons chopped mint
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon toasted slivered almonds

Using a sieve, rinse quinoa thoroughly with water. Combine quinoa and orange juice in a saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 12 to 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed; let cool.

Combine cooled quinoa with cucumber, red pepper, red onion, celery, carrot, cilantro, mint, and olive oil. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Garnish with slivered almonds.

Per serving nutritional information: Calories: 170; Protein: 4 grams; Fat: 7 grams; Saturated Fat: 1 gram; Carbohydrate: 23 grams; Dietary Fibre: 3 grams; Sodium: 180 mg


Do you have any favourite ways to prepare quinoa? Please share the comment section below.

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Categories: Recipes

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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8 Comments on “A delish quinoa dish for Passover (or anytime): Citrus Quinoa Salad”

  1. Kathy
    March 22, 2013 at 7:30 am #

    This recipe sounds great…but I Cannot stand cilantro(smell or flavour!). Substitution suggestions?

    • March 22, 2013 at 10:26 am #

      It is indeed delicious! I would use more mint and maybe a couple of tablespoons of chopped flat-leaf parsley. You’re not alone in hating both the smell and taste of cilantro. But I have to say that I do believe that you can learn to really LOVE it. Both my daughters as teens hated it. There were times when they were teens when they walked through the front door, they could smell the cilantro. They were very vocal at how they thought it smelled! But since my husband and I both love it, I continued to use it. They would eventually taste small amounts. Now my older daughter puts whole sprigs into her salad as she says it gives the salad a nice fresh taste! And if that’s not a real turnaround …. Enjoy the salad however you make it!

  2. March 24, 2013 at 4:26 pm #

    I can vouch for the “cilantro can grow on you” concept. Couldn’t stand the stuff (even a whiff of it) a decade ago but, having had it in the right dishes (Pho, for instance), I actually grew to love it!

    • March 24, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

      I agree, Ilana! I think that cilantro is worth the effort of trying it over and over. If you love cilantro, it elevates the taste of so many dishes. I plant it in my garden and always let some go to seed. It ends up all over my garden in the spring- an amazing treat!

  3. Linda Stein
    March 24, 2013 at 11:47 pm #

    Thanks for the recipe Rosie! The salad is delicious and I will serve it on my Seder table.


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