This healthy Asian-Style Quinoa Salad is packed with texture and flavour. Quinoa is tossed with fava beans (also known as broad beans), a mix of salad greens and crunchy walnuts, then tossed in with my go-to Asian-Style dressing. A dressing made with soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, lemon juice, ginger and garlic. An easy dressing that is easy to prepare and adds tons of flavor.
While you can enjoy this salad any time of year, it’s especially great in the summer months since it is super simple and easy to prepare. Once you’ve cooked the quinoa and prepared the fava beans (which by the way, can be done ahead of time or even the night before), it’s simply a matter of tossing everything together.
And of course, if you have the chance, fresh fava beans have a short season, so this is the perfect chance to enjoy them fresh rather than frozen. And if you can’t manage to get your hands on fava beans, you can easily trade then out for edamame. Or skip them all together.
Tips on how to prepare this Asian-Style Quinoa Salad
Cooking the quinoa:
It’s important to cook the quinoa so that it is light and fluffy when done. Otherwise, it will taste soggy with the dressing. Cook it until the liquid is fully evaporated or if necessary pour the cooked quinoa into a fine mesh sieve and let any excess liquid drain off, before letting stand a few more minutes. You should be able to fluff it with a fork when done.
Blanching the beans:
If using fresh beans in the pod, you will need to plan extra time as they need to be shelled twice, first before cooking to remove the outer pod, then after cooking, to remove the membrane around the bean. This can be done ahead of time or even the day before. Simply store the prepared beans covered in the refrigerator until ready to use. Alternatively, frozen fava beans or edamame can be used.
Using a selection of greens:
A mixture of greens gives this salad other nuances of flavor. In winter, curly kale or Tuscan kale can also be used. Simply give it a light massage with a little oil and squeeze of lemon before adding to the salad. This will tenderise its sturdy leaves.
Keep this recipe vegan or not:
This salad is naturally vegan, but can also be enjoyed with grilled chicken rather than smoked tofu. I personally find that the smoked tofu elevates the flavor of this salad, and since it also has a lot of flavor its also a great choice for non-tofu fans. Look for smoked tofu with almonds & sesame seeds (organic food store), it’s absolutely delicious.
Looking for other Asian-Style salads?
Try one of these delicious recipes:
- Asian Glass Noodle Salad (vegan)
- Asian-Style Kale Salad with Brown Rice and Smoked Tofu
- Asian Coleslaw
- Chopped Thai Salad with Peanut Dressing
Asian-Style Quinoa Salad
For the quinoa salad:
- 200 g smoked tofu (I like the one with almonds & sesame seeds from Taifun), diced
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed (200 g)
- 2 cups water (500 ml)
- 150 g shelled fava beans, from about 500 g pods or 1 cup frozen and thawed (alternatively use soy beans)
- 2 handfuls mixed salad greens (such as baby beet leaves, mizuna, or tatsoi)
- 2 handfuls baby spinach leaves
- 1 small bunch chopped coriander
- 30 g walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped (alternatively use toasted raw cashews)
For the Asian-style dressing:
- 4 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1,5 tablespoon soya sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
- 1 clove garlic, minced
In a saucepan, add the quinoa and water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then decrease the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the pot from heat, cover, and let the quinoa steam for 5 minutes. Then, remove the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Transfer to a large serving bowl to cool.
While the quinoa cools, prepare the fresh fava beans. First, shell away the fava beans outer pod. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the shelled fava beans for about 3 minutes (until just tender). Plunge them into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain well and remove the outer peel by squeezing the favas from their skins (if using frozen fava beans or edamame, cook 1-2 minutes, or 4-5 minutes if frozen).
In a small bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients (lemon, oils, soy sauce, sugar, ginger and garlic).
Add the tofu and beans to the bowl with the quinoa, pour over the dressing and toss well to combine. Add the salad greens, spinach, coriander and walnuts. Toss again to incorporate.
Serve and enjoy!
- The quinoa and fresh fava beans can easily be prepared and cooked in advance, so that you can assemble this salad in just 15 minutes. Simply toss all the ingredients together with the dressing before serving.
- Alternatively this salad can be served with grilled chicken breast. To cook the chicken: Rub the chicken with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Using a large grill skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for about 1 minute until golden on one side. Flip the chicken breasts over and cook on the other side until golden and grill marks appear. Reduce the heat to medium and cover with a lid. Cook for 4-5 minutes, flip the chicken using a pair of tongs and cook the other side for about 4-5 minutes, or until done (depending of size and thickness of chicken breasts).
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