Quinoa Salad with Balsamic, Mint & Walnuts


About 4 years ago when my husband made his first trip to the States, he had asked me what is it he could get for us from there. Like there was no tomorrow, I had requested bag full of goodies that he bought from there. My list ran long and seemed endless. That was the time I was hardly a year into blogging and baking and photography were the new fad. A large springform pan, the mezzaluna, a pie dish, few ramekins, many muffin cases, dried cranberries, blueberries, ounces of walnuts, almonds, artefacts, photography gears, and what not. He patiently went hopping shop to shop carrying my list around and satisfying my needs and wants. The bags were stuffed to their brim, as if they were about to burst out, crossing their baggage limits on his return back home. As he opened each suitcase, I was fascinated like a kid opening her birthday presents with excitement. Over the years, I have hardly used the springform pan. The pie pan worked best for cakes, while the ramekins made their neat appearance for chutneys, sauces and dips to be served when we had guests around. I used mezzaluna a couple of times to chop the greens, but it was too pricey was daily use and nothing seemed to work better than the good ol' kitchen knife. The only solace, I've used the muffin cases on couple of occasions and exploited the dry fruits and nuts in almost every dessert I made.

Last year, when my husband made frequent trips abroad, I asked him to travel light, partly because my home was brimming with so much clutter that I could not afford to add more to it, and mainly because what I assumed then to be unavailable in Indian markets is now widely available in most stores. From exotic ingredients to baking essentials, its far more simpler to fetch them now than it was long ago.

On his previous trip, he came back home with a pack of organic Quinoa to surprise me. Having never tasted them in the past I was quite apprehensive about what they would taste like. The first I made them, it wasn't best of those grains I had, yet over couple of recipes I have acquired their taste and quite like them now. My simplest way is to consume them as salad. They have a lovely crunch when lightly toasted. Balsamic adds a great depth of flavour and tang, while brown sugar counters it with a mild sweetness that I adore it. Simple, yet flavoursome.

Quinoa Salad with Balsamic, Mint & Walnuts


1 cup / 150 gm Quinoa
1 tsp. Butter
1 tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
1 tsp. Brown Sugar
2-3 sprigs of Mint leaves
5-6 Walnut Kernels
1 Tomato, diced
Handful of Black Olives and JalapeƱos (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Processed Cheese, grated (optional)


Cook 1 cup quinoa in about 2 cups of water. Quinoa takes about 15-20 minutes to cook and is done when its translucent with a visible white ring around the center kernel. Remove the cooked quinoa from heat and allow to sit five minutes. Fluff them gently with a fork. Next, in a wok, add a teaspoon of butter and lightly saute the cooked quinoa till its slightly toasted. Add salt, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Saute the quinoa for a minute so that most of the balsamic vinegar is absorbed. Turn off the flame and add in the mint leaves, walnuts, diced tomato, olives and jalapeƱos. Season with pepper to taste. Serve cold and top with cheese and more walnuts before serving.


  1. Beautiful clicks, the salad looks delicious and healthy.

  2. We are like kids waiting for presents when Santa brings things from the US! Only wish this happened more often :)

    Never tasted quinoa, your salad looks very inviting, am sure it tastes delicious too!

  3. Hi Mallika,

    I really like your blog. Pics are nice and appealing.

    To use springform pan you can try a cheese cake if you havent tried before

    1. Hi Reshma,

      Thanks for your kind words. Yes, I have used the springform for cheesecakes in the past. But it's not something I bake so often!

  4. Its been a while I have been around here......and here am amazed to see all the posts :) Nice combination salad