Quinoa-Melon-Mint Salad from Corsica
A mouthful of this quinoa-melon-mint salad hits you with a number of scrumptious notes–a base of quinoa, fresh mint flavor, crunchiness of red radish balanced by the sweet, soft, pulpy water melon, and the heavenly white balsamic vinegar reduction with sweet and sour notes. Use it as a side or main dish.
White balsamic Reduction
- 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar*
- 5 fresh mint leaves
- 1 tbsp maple syrup (can sub with honey)
- 1 cup (170g) white quinoa (dry, can sub with other variety of quinoa as well)
- 2 cups (473 mL) water
- 1/2 tsp (3g) salt (divided into two 1/4 tsp portions)
- 1 cup (140g) water melon (finely dices, about 1 big slice)
- 1 cup (133g) cucumber (finely diced, about 1/2 big-size cucumber)
- 1 cup (85g) red radishes (finely diced, about 4-5 small)
- 2 tbsp fresh mint leaves (finely chopped, about 12 leaves)
- 1/4 tsp black pepper (freshly ground)
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil (optional)
White balsamic reduction
In a small pan, bring white balsamic vinegar to a gentle boil over medium-low heat.
Add the fresh mint leaves and maple syrup. Let it simmer over low heat for about 7-10 minutes. To test, dip a small spoon in the mixture. When done, the mixture will coat the back of the spoon. If it is still too thin, let it simmer for a few more minutes. The total reduction should measure to 1/3 cup. Once done, cool it completely and store in the fridge for at least an hour before mixing with the salad. You can make this reduction ahead of time--at least a night before.
Cook the quinoa at least 3-4 hours in advance for it to cool down completely. It is best to make it a night ahead and store in the refrigerator. To make the quinoa, rinse it thoroughly under running water for 40-60 seconds. Add it to a pot with two cups of water and cook over medium-high heat to bring it to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook till all the water has evaporated. It takes about 15 minutes to cook 1 cup of quinoa. Please make sure not to overcook. Once done, fluff it with a fork.
Before cutting the melon and other vegetables to add to the salad, make sure that you have cold quinoa and white balsamic reduction at hand. Small dice the melon, red raddishes, and cucumber and finely chop mint and season with salt and pepper. Mix well with the quinoa and white balsamic reduction.
Cover the salad and let it sit for 10-15 minutes at room temperature for the flavors to mingle. Enjoy!
*I have not tried it, but you should be able to sub with regular white vinegar, white rice vinegar, or white wine vinegar.
Make it low-sodium: omit salt in the fruit/vegetable mixture
Note: I have presented the vegan version of the recipe. The chef at Ta Kladia served this salad topped with feta cheese. If you are vegetarian, you can top the salad with feta.
- you can add one can of your choice of beans (rinsed and drained) to make it a main meal-garbanzo or cannellini beans are likely to work better.
- You can add 1/4 cup of raw or toasted nuts.
Serving: 1.5cupsCalories: 228kcalCarbohydrates: 43gProtein: 6gFat: 2gSodium: 330mgPotassium: 476mgFiber: 4gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 5700IUVitamin C: 6.6mgCalcium: 60mgIron: 2.5mg