It’s official – summer is here! Living in northern Germany we can now expect a couple of weeks of sunshine – before the rain kicks in again anyway. Still, ‘make Thai quinoa salad while the sun shines’ goes the famous saying, so we will.
It’s the perfect summery salad – light, tropical vibes with a refreshing kick. It also gave us the chance to explore ingredients we don’t often have a chance to work with, and we’ll give the wisdom of our experience below.
Thai Quinoa Salad – Mango vs Papaya
For this Thai quinoa salad you’ll need at least a mango or a papaya. It’s really up to you which you use – they both taste great. We suggest you pick whichever is easiest to find – or kinder on your wallet. In northern Germany that’s often the humble mango, though we’d love to hear in the comments below if that’s the same for you.
Papaya does have some advantages to it – you can often buy it pre-cut. Naturally, this saves plenty of time with prepping – something we’ll always love! If you plump for mango, here’s a video showing a cool way to peel and prep it.
Heading to your local Asian store might be your best bet. Lemongrass is another great ingredient that’s crucial Thai quinoa salad, and if you can’t find it at your local supermarket then an Asian or whole foods store will almost certainly stock it. Lemongrass needs to be beaten a little for it to really release it’s lovely flavours. We tried various ways of doing this, and the easiest simplest way is to use a wooden or metal spoon and give it a few hits. Here’s a video of Dave showing you how definitely not do it.
Thai Quinoa Salad – One of your ten a day
Remember, even though we all learnt we should be trying to eat five fruit or veg a day, recent research shows we should be trying to eat TEN a day. Not an easy feat necessarily, but if we’re going to try, we might as well enjoy it.
Thai quinoa salad can be a good way to get a couple of portions down you (the sugar snap peas and fruits) – and if you have leftover papaya or mango you can just throw it into a smoothie or munch it down anyway. Obviously quinoa plays a big role here – it’s one of the only plants/non-animal products that contain all nine essential amino acids (making it a complete protein). As an added bonus it also contains ‘healthy fats’ and is gluten-free. Sounds good to us.
Thai Quinoa Salad
- ¾ cup quinoa (uncooked ¾ cups = 125g)
- 1 stick lemongrass
- ¼ papaya (¼ = roughly 300g; alternatively use mango)
- 1 handful peanuts
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp peanut oil
- 1 handful green pea snaps (sugar snaps are also fine)
- ½ red onion
- 1 bunch Thai basil leaves (regular basil is fine too)
- 1 bunch mint leaves
- 3 tsp coconut flakes
- 1 tsp hot sauce (eg. sriracha)
- ½ lemon, juiced (lime also works well)
- 1 thumb ginger, grated
- salt to taste
- Choose your fruit. Papaya and mango both work equally well in this dish - we suggest choosing whichever you like more or can find easier/less costly.
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- More spicy sauce if that’s your thing
- More peanuts if you like it nutty 🙂
- Cook the quinoa according to instructions. Smack the lemongrass stick on the table to “open it up”, add it to the quinoa with a pinch of salt.
- When the quinoa is ready, remove the lemongrass.
- While the quinoa is cooking, peel the papaya, take out the seeds and cut into small cubes. Add them to a mixing bowl.
- If using mango, the easiest way to get the flesh out is to cut the sides off and use a glass to separate the skin from fruit.
- Chop the peanuts roughly, then roast them (if not already roasted) together with the sesame seeds in a pan on medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Off they go into the bowl as well.
- In the same pan and with some peanut oil gently fry the pea snaps for 1 minute and tip them into the bowl as well.
- Thinly slice the red onion, chop the thai basil and mint leaves. Together with the quinoa, mix it all with the other ingredients. Finish the salad off with lemon (or lime) juice, coconut flakes, hot sauce and the grated ginger. If you fancy garlic, now is the time to grate it in as well.