Marinated Quinoa Salad

Marinated Quinoa Salad

For years my go-to summer salad was my take on “Marinated Pasta Salad” from Mollie Katzen’s The Enchanted Broccoli Forest cookbook.  Of course, one could modify that recipe to use rice pasta (gluten free) and leave out the mozzarella cheese (dairy free), but for July 4th this year I made a few additional tweaks and came up with Marinated Quinoa Salad.  Many of the same flavors and refreshing taste, but without the food allergies!

Marinated Quinoa Salad

45 minutes to prepare, plus time to chill
Makes 4-6 servings


  • 1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 bunch kale
  • 1/2 medium red onion, finely diced
  • 1 jar or can artichoke hearts (8-15 oz., see note below), coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup (packed) finely minced parsley
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • basil (1 Tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dry) or other herb blend (I used Pasta Sprinkle from


  1. In a 1 quart saucepan with a lid, boil the water.  Add the rinsed quinoa, stir, lower the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes or until tender.  Allow the quinoa to cool.
  2. Clean the kale by removing the leaves from the stems.  Rinse the leaves in a bowl of water and tear them into large, bite-size pieces. In a large pot with a lid, heat about one inch of water to boiling.  Add kale and steam/blanch for 2-3 minutes until tender.  Toss with tongs a couple of times during the cooking.  Remove to a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process.  Drain thoroughly and chop into smaller bite-size pieces.
  3. Add kale, red onion, artichoke hearts, and parsley to quinoa.  Toss.
  4. Add oil, vinegar, salt & pepper, and basil or herbs.  Toss
  5. Chill for at least 30 minutes.


  • Quinoa is a high-protein, gluten-free grain-like seed gaining in popularity in the US, but ancient in origin.  Several varieties are available.  I buy the dark-beige variety in bulk at the Seward Co-op.  It requires only a quick rinse in a sieve before cooking.  Other varieties may require longer rinsing, soaking, and/or cooking times.  Follow the directions for your quinoa.  You should end up with approximately 2 cups cooked quinoa.
  • Most artichoke hearts seem to be processed with ingredients that are likely to be corn-based (e.g., citric acid, “spices”).  If you are sensitive to corn, use your judgment.  I find that if I drain the marinated artichoke hearts, I don’t have much, if any, reaction.  I haven’t tried the canned variety (with the citric acid), but would drain and rinse those before using. Feel free to substitute some other vegetable (green peppers, broccoli, carrots).
  • You could use the kale raw and be just fine.  I find a few minutes of blanching heightens the color and makes it easier to digest.







Lemon-Soy-Sesame Marinade

Lemon-Soy-Sesame Chicken & Kale

My plan for Marinated Grilled Vegetables was cancelled due to inclement weather (rain and hail throughout the day), forcing me to punt.  I had some leftover quinoa and baked sweet potato that needed to be eaten, a bunch of kale, and some chicken tenders.  So the marinade intended for grilled veggies became the basis for sautéed kale and marinated chicken tenders.

For years I’ve used this Lemon-Soy Marinade with vegetables (mushrooms, squash, peppers, red onion, eggplant slices . . . ), as well as tofu and tempeh; I found it originally in Quick Vegetarian Pleasures by Jeanne Lemlin (her version adds scallions and uses rather odd amounts of some of the ingredients, but my proportions are similar to hers).  Only tonight did it occur to me to use it on chicken!  Absolutely perfect combination of the tang of lemon, the salty tenderizing of tamari, and the nuttiness of sesame.

Lemon-Soy-Sesame Marinade

Makes about 1-1/4 cups, enough for several dishes, so divide in half if only using for one dish.

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup wheat-free tamari soy sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons grated ginger (or 1/2 tsp dry ground ginger)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl or jar and whisk or shake together.

Lemon-Soy-Sesame Chicken

Cut chicken tenders into bite-sized pieces.  Place in bowl and drizzle some of the marinade over— just enough to marinate all the pieces.  Stir to coat.  Let sit for at least 30 minutes (refrigerate if marinating longer than 30 minutes).  Heat skillet over high heat.  Toss in the chicken and its marinade.  Stir to cook until done, about 5-8 minutes.


Lemon-Soy-Sesame Kale

Remove one bunch kale from its stems (save the stems for veggie stock).  (Tearing with your hands is the easiest, but you can also run a knife down each side of the stem.  Wash the leaves and tear into bite-sized pieces.  Drain.  Heat a skillet over high heat.  Coat lightly with vegetable oil.  Add kale (you may have to do this in bunches, it will wilt down quickly).  Cover and cook until softened.  Sprinkle on about 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes (the kind folks use on pizza).  When the kale is almost done (from 10-20 minutes depending on how you like it) drizzle over a couple tablespoons of the Lemon-Soy-Sesame marinade.  Keep cooking until kale is done and most of the marinade has been absorbed or evaporated.


Update June 15, 2012

Today I doctored the remaining marinade and used it with some vegetables.  To what was left after making the above, I added 2 Tablespoons tamari, 2 Tablespoons oil, 2 Tablespoons rice wine, a dash of sesame oil, 1 Tablespoon molasses (honey would work too), and another clove of garlic.  After marinating a few hours my veggies looked like this before going into the 375°F oven (I gave up on the grilling):

After 40 minutes in the oven: