Spring Vegetable Quinoa Salad

Spring Quinoa Salad

People who love to eat are always the best kind of people – Julia Child 

It’s not like we can pretend to be otherwise. We are self-confessed foodies. A new restaurant, a new ingredient, new places rock our boat. Some of our best friends are foodies too which make it amazing to have dinner parties and travels.

But they (as in the rich food not friends) make for poor waistline.

As you know the other saying: Abs Are Made in Kitchen!


What we neglected in our 20’s, we are paying for in our 30’s.

In our quest to get back in shape this year and maintain it, we have indulged in salads. Sometimes simple with homemade dressing and other times festive and with flair to get us out of the rut and keep the enthusiasm going.

This quinoa salad is one in the middle – not everyday ho-hum but not too exotic. Something that can be conjured up on weeknight. Healthy, loaded with veggies, protein powerhouse. Here instead of cooking quinoa in plain water, cook it in water with spices and herbs. I used garlic, parsley and oregano but you could add whatever you have on-hand. Thyme, Cumin, Parsley – anything will work. It makes the quinoa savory. So you don’t really need separate dressing.

Coupled with chicken or salmon or tuna cakes make for a complete meal. Paired with wine can be dressed up for brunch. Versatile and seasonal. Weeknight meals don’t get much easier than this.

Spring Quinoa Salad

Spring Vegetable Quinoa Salad Recipe

  • 1 Cup Red Quinoa
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 garlic clove finely diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 – 10 cups water to blanch vegetables
  • 8 -10 asparagus stalks, woody ends trimmed
  • 1 cup fresh peas, shelled
  • 1/2 cup carrots, diced
  • 2- 3 celery stalks diced
  • 2 radishes thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Boil water in a pot with clove, parsley, oregano and salt in it. When it boils, add quinoa. Stir and cook covered for 10 – 12 minutes till quinoa is cooked. Fluff with a fork and remove in a bowl.

  2. In the meantime, set water to boil in another pot. Add salt to this pot of water. Once boiling, add vegetables to blanch.

Add asparagus and let them blanch for 2- 3minutes till they turn bright green. Remove them with a pair of tongs.

Add carrots and peas and cook them for another 2- 3 minutes till they soften.

  1. Slice the asparagus into 1/4 inch segments on a diagonal.

  2. Add the blanched vegetables, celery and lemon juice to cooked quinoa. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Garnish with radish slices and serve warm.

Pinterest Told Me To Make: Rhubarb Strawberry Lemonade

Rhubarb Strawberry Lemonade

I have more than 100+ recipes pinned on my Pinterest Recipes Inspiration board.
They all sit there – as eye candy. The boards are usually full/ brimming with ideas but never are they implemented.I have really never attempted to make them.

I am sure that is the case of most of us who spend all our free time pinning. Doesn’t matter if its arts/crafts, style, home or food related.

read more

Murgh Makhani or Restaurant Style Butter Chicken

Murgh Makhani Butter Chicken

We had friends visiting one Friday evening. They were in SF only for the evening and we had them over for dinner.

We ordered take out food as I was not up for cooking for so many folks. But I baked us a cake.The cake as luck would have it didn’t turn out well. It was nice and soft out of the oven but then fell flat and was dense. It was weird. Soft and dense.

To salvage it, I decided to serve it with some whipped cream. As in store bough whipped cream. You know,cool whip makes everything seem better.

read more

Cherry Blossom Festival @ Japantown

Northern California Cherry Blossom

Last weekend, while Vipul was in Japan, Varun, Dad and I visited Japantown in SF.

Handling an active 3 1/2-year-old and a new-born is a challenge. When the energy is not channeled, it leads to the said preschooler wanting to play with the baby, singing loudly near the baby waking the baby up from his nap (which he finally does after hours of nursing and fussing), which agitates the baby leading to loud crying, time outs and more crying.

The best way to prevent this cycle and drama that goes with it was to take him out for an hour or so.

read more

Ambat Tikhat Kolambi – Hot and Sour Shrimp Curry

Hot and Sour Shrimp curry

My mom is a pure vegetarian. But she knew we loved fish and shrimp and she used to cook 3- 4 “non vegetarian” dishes for us. Shrimp pulav, fried pomfret, stuffed surmai and fish curry.

She had learnt them from her best friend, right down to the salt and seasonings as she couldn’t taste test it.

Hot and Sour Shrimp curry

Every Sunday morning (or at least every alternate Sunday morning), Mom’s best friend would call. The kolin or the fish monger would come to their house. My mom would have told her to buy fish or shrimp for us. The call was to arrange pickup. Mom used to make me go downstairs to pick up the parcel. Her friend’s son used to come half way and sheepishly hand me the carefully wrapped parcel. I used to sneak it in averting the gaze of my “pure vegetarian” neighbors. 

It was not as scandalous as when my grand mom used to visit and we literally used to scrub down the kitchen to remove any traces of non-vegetarian food smell in our house from cups, spoons, plates etc.

Hot and Sour Shrimp curry

It’s thanks to this and my mom’s best friends recipes that I had some insight into some yummy seafood. Green chillies, freshly ground coconut, kokum. Fresh seafood.

Vipul is in Japan this week for work.While I know he will love food there, before leaving, he wanted to have his fill of Indian food. I made him mom style hot and sour shrimp curry.

If you have ever been to Gajalee, you will know the kind of curry that I am talking about. The heat of the curry is mind-blowing. And the sourness of tamarind and kokum adds a different dimension. This is coastal Maharashtrian cuisine at its best! Coconutty, spicy and with fresh seafood!

I made this for Vipul before he went to Japan for a 10 day work trip. To remind him what good Indian food he will miss while he is stuffing his face with sushi/sashimi/soba/udon/ramen.

Hot and Sour Shrimp curry

read more