I have not been shy about my love of salads. I am, however, an admitted salad snob. My husband agrees. I like my salads to taste good and to look good. Appearance matters. Making a salad look appetizing should not be that complicated: vegetables in their natural states are inherently pretty, given the variety of vivid colors, shapes, and textures.
I have credited my mom for my love of salads. Early exposure is key. Because of this exposure, there are not many vegetables that I don’t like. This is a slaw salad I developed mainly around my love of quinoa and cabbage. The cabbage salad I posted when I first started blogging remains one of my most popular posts, and I stand by it as a solid, easy, salad option that even kids will eat.
This quinoa vegetable slaw is similar. The main star in this salad is red cabbage. Using thin slices makes it less tough and more delicate. Quinoa also features prominently. I use quinoa a lot. Quinoa is the only food (of vegetable origin) that provides all the essential amino acids, trace elements and vitamins, equating its protein quality to that of milk. This stuff is a rock star in the culinary world. Carrots, peppers, scallions, and cilantro add color, flavor and texture. A light peanut sauce (with just a touch of heat) brings this slaw together nicely without weighing it down and overwhelming it. When making a slaw salad like this, don’t overdress it. It’s not a coleslaw, it’s a salad–and that’s important to remember. Drizzle the dressing, and serve the rest on the side. Diners can always add more, but you don’t want to lose the crunch factor. This simple gluten-free salad is a versatile one and can be served with just about anything. In warmer months, I like to serve this with my soft shell crabs. In the cooler months, I pair it with crispy chicken breasts or grilled fillet.
Quinoa Vegetable Slaw With Peanut Dressing
- For the Salad:
- 1 cup cooked black quinoa, cooled
- 3 cups shredded purple cabbage
- 3/4 cup shredded carrots
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 6 mini red bell peppers, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
- For the Peanut Dressing:
- 3 tablespoons lightly roasted creamy peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons Tamari
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 3 teaspoons tossed sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- 1/4 cup roasted and salted peanuts, roughly chopped
- Step 1 For the Salad: Cook the quinoa per the package instructions and cool. Set aside.
- Step 2 In a large mixing bowl add the cabbage, carrots, scallions, red peppers and cilantro leaves. Using your hands, lightly toss and set aside.
- Step 3 For the Peanut Dressing: In a small mixing bowl add the peanut butter, Tamari, rice vinegar, sesame oil, lime juice, chili sauce and water. Whisk the dressing until well incorporated.
- Step 4 To serve, mix in the cooled, cooked quinoa with the vegetable mixture the and chopped peanuts. Drizzle with the peanut dressing and gently toss to incorporate. Serve immediately.