Optional: 1 cup cooked chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces (rotisserie chicken would make this fast and easy!)
For the peanut sauce:
1/2 c peanut butter
1/2 c hoisin sauce (asian section of grocery store)
1-2T fresh grated ginger (you can buy this pre-ground, easy!)
1 t chili paste (asian section of grocery store)
1/3 c hot water
To cook quinoa: Rinse quinoa with cold water in mesh strainer. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 ½ cups of water to a boil. Add in quinoa and bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 20 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed all of the water. Remove from heat and fluff quinoa with fork; place in large bowl and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes. You should have a little over 2 cups of quinoa.
Make peanut sauce by whisking all peanut sauce ingredients together in a bowl.
Add as much or as little dressing as you’d like to the quinoa. I always start out with a little bit of dressing and usually add more to suit my taste preferences. Alternatively you can save the dressing for later and add when you are ready to eat; however the flavors of the dressing usually soak into the salad so I love adding it to the quinoa first.
Next fold in red pepper, onion, cabbage, carrots, and cilantro into the quinoa. Garnish with cashews and green onions. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Delicious topped with extra peanut sauce and even fresh lime.
Although there is a bit of veggie chopping with this recipe, it was relatively fast, easy, fresh, and delicious! We will definitely make it again! I added chicken to serve it as a main dish, although that is nutritionally not necessary. I would leave the chicken out if I was serving it as a side dish.
This recipe was inspired by ambitiouskitchen.com. Photo credits to ambitiouskitchen.