FFWD – Quinoa Salad


I’m a rather mediocre meditator. If I go to a sit or even a day-long retreat, I can meditate successfully and feel as though I’ve gotten a lot out of it (which is entirely the wrong attitude, I know). But, on my own, it doesn’t happen. At least not in that formal, sit and allow your thoughts to pass through, focusing on your breath, kind of way.

My true meditative practice happens when I’m out in the garden or chopping vegetables in the kitchen. It’s in those moments, or in the in-between spaces like a quiet bus ride or a long walk, that I truly reach for a meditative state. The demonstration of this kind of practice is one of the reasons I love the film How to Cook Your Life.

And yes, this week’s French Fridays assignment put me in mind of this, as I cubed or thinly sliced a heaping plateful of vegetables today. Now, I should let you know that the recipe for this week wasn’t actually quinoa salad, it was couscous salad. But, since the other half of the household can’t have gluten, I decided to change it up a bit. It’s a Moroccan-inspired take on a grain and vegetable salad that didn’t suffer at all from the substitution. In fact, I loved the colour the tumeric and other spices lent to my plain quinoa.

You can find the recipe on Epicurious, along with the suggested accompaniment, lemon chicken. Because quinoa is packed with protein, we were able to make a vegan supper of it, along with some corn on the cob.

And as an added bonus, Kevin declared this the best recipe I’ve tried recently. Now, that’s something to contemplate.

Find out what the rest of the French Fridays crew thought about their Couscous Salad


33 thoughts on “FFWD – Quinoa Salad

  1. How nice that Kevin enjoyed this one! I’m sure quinoa was a wonderful substitute for the couscous. For a change I was the one who didn’t enjoy the choice…I found the flavor too intense…I guess I’m not a fan of Moroccan spices! Have a good weekend, Teresa!

  2. Great sub and way to enjoy this week’s recipe. No finer compliment than when a taste tester approves 🙂 I also enjoyed that movie trailer. I had not heard of it before and it looks fabulous. Thanks for sharing ! – Tricia

    1. Thanks, Tricia. It’s a good film. It’s on the Canadian version of Netflix (which doesn’t have a very good selection in comparison to the U.S. version), so you should be able to watch it there, too. Kevin and I have watched it a few times over the years.

  3. Quinoa sounds like the perfect substitute. This recipe just cries out for substitutions to tailor it to your own tastes. I know I’ll be making some version of this over and over.

  4. You can take Kevin’s compliment to the bank, Teresa. Doesn’t that make you feel good. Whether it was quinoa or couscous, it was the “idea” of it with all the fruits and veggies and spices. I liked it. As for meditation – cannot crack that nut. When I was caring for Michael, my daughter and others suggested I meditate to relieve myself of stress. Missy sent me how-to tapes and I went to some classes. Just could not do it. When I found myself 5 minutes into a meditating session and making a grocery list, I quit.

    1. It did feel good! I’m glad he liked one of the recipes that’s so easy to change, according to what’s available. It makes it much easier to make often.

      Meditation is a hard nut to crack. You also have to know what works for you – it’s not for everyone, for sure.

  5. I am way too lazy to garden (also helps that I only have a balcony box), but I find cooking rather meditative. Your cous cous salad looks fab, and the quinoa substitution is a good one.

  6. I think meditation in action is an approach that works very well for our Western minds.I’ve practiced meditation for many years and sitting meditation is the most challenging for me. I learned how to meditate by focusing on a candle flame and making marks on a paper every time I was aware of my attention wandering. I found it a perfect tool. Cooking Your Life looks like a film I would enjoy. I will be looking for it! I think the quinoa substitute would have worked better for Gary. It was such a shock to me that he didn’t like this!

    1. It sounds like you’ve really done the work to deepen your practice. I like the term meditation in action. I think you’re right; it does suit this culture. Do look for the film – it’s great!

  7. I made this with freekeh and it worked quite well. I’m glad to know that couscous worked too. I’m with you on meditating. I like the idea of it, but can never manage to sit still and do it “successfully.” The repetitive tasks in cooking do help clear my mind, which certainly helps.

  8. Okay, the first time I read through this, I thought you said that you were a mediocre mediator 🙂 I guess I have been reading too many contracts this week.
    This salad was perfect for substituting and changing things around – great thought on the quinoa.
    I don’t find my peace chopping vegetables, but making bread dough early in the morning often has that same affect on me.
    Have a nice week.

  9. I seem to have ADD when it comes to meditating, and well life in general. The only time my brain seems to settle is when painting or cooking.

    Sous chef even liked this recipe – that was something! He wasn’t a huge fan of all the leftovers though.

    1. Tasks like cooking do settle the brain and creative tasks like painting (which no one should ever ask me to do) are so focused. Glad Sous Chef liked this one!

  10. Here from CCC to search for your recommendation! Definitely going to try this one. Interesting that again the spices are added to the cooking broth, hmmm…

    As soon as someone asks me to meditate my brain goes on overdrive and I can’t stop fidgeting! Walking works for me, love the quietness of it.

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