A wonderfully perfect, manic Monday meal: Red quinoa with salmon and spinach

Subtitle: Rekindling my love of quinoa. 

With every blogging slump, there must be a delicious and inspiring dish to get me out of it.

So here we are. A delicious meal. And a simple one too. As in beyond simple. So simple that I felt like I was cheating, in fact. Maybe I was. I used canned salmon. SHHH. Can snobs have no place here – not on a student food blog. I wasn’t even breaking any rules of the Food Bible, since the recipe that I adapted this salad-like meal from requested that very canned delicacy.

Also, it used quinoa. And not only that, but quinoa of the coloured variety. Totally rad.

I still consider myself a sheltered food lover, and had never actually tried canned salmon before tonight. As is, I only tried canned tuna a few weeks ago when I was inspired by some other-worldly forces to try my hand at making a tuna fish sandwich. Yes, I know, you’re rolling your eyes at me like I missed out on some integral part of childhood school lunch making. I couldn’t help it, okay? My mom’s a dietician and I was picky, choosing the standard peanut butter and jam as my sandwich topping of choice between grades one and 12.

Anyways… turns out canned salmon is not disastrously disgusting and is, in fact, really quite good. Cracking open a can rather than using the fresh stuff also meant that I cut at least half an hour off of dinner preparation time. That meant this meal was ready in – get this – 10 MINUTES. A dinner revelation. It was delicious.

I’m going to compliment myself furiously for a moment (so bear with me): I really, really like these pictures. I’ve been inspired by my roommate Brittany’s photography style (which is stunning), and want to start setting a scene in my photos. Beautiful food + beautiful setting (i.e. an IKEA table, bowl of spinach and dishtowel) = beautiful photos. I hope.

Recipe: Red quinoa with salmon and spinach
Adapted from Bev Cooks
- 1 cup black quinoa
- 1 can Alaskan Pink Salmon, drained
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 3 cups baby spinach
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

In a large pot, cook quinoa in two cups of boiling water until they burst and become little spirals, about 15 minutes. There should be little to no water left in the pot at this point.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high. Add the onion and cayenne pepper and saute until softened and starting to brown, 6 minutes.

Add onion mixture to the pot with the quinoa, along with the salmon and spinach. Toss to combine and stir until the spinach is slightly filted. Add the salt and pepper.

Makes three servings.

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9 comments
  1. Hi Hilary! First, I can’t believe you’ve never had tinned salmon. It’s like saying you’ve never had Kraft Dinner! Well, I’ve had a small bag of red quinoa languishing in my pantry so when I saw your post I took it as a sign and made your salad for lunch today, sans salmon because I’m a vegetarian. I caramelized the onions and added shavings of Pecorino to make up for the missing umami that the salmon brings to the dish and it was fab! Thanks for the inspiration. Jennifer

  2. Liz said:

    I read that most tinned salmon is wild caught – if its true can t be bad ? I like it in a salad with hard boiled eggs and tarragon mayo.

  3. pearl said:

    Your pictures are beautiful! I haven’t tried the red quinoa. Does it taste different from the regular white quinoa? Canned salmon and tuna are great, especially on a student budget.

  4. Tracy said:

    What size can? I have a tall can of salmon and I’m wondering if you mean the “tuna size” cans? – Thanks would like to try this tonight.

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