FitSocial Recipe: Asian-Styled Quinoa Salad


It’s really hard to pinpoint my favorite moment of FitSocial, but if you asked me to pick RIGHT NOW, I’d probably say the healthy cooking demo.

On the very last day of the conference, we all met at the Anschutz Wellness Center to kick off the last day which was nutrition-focused.  We got to listen to a presentation on nutrition from the fabulous Ashley Koff, RD.

FitSocial Recipe:  Asian-Styled Quinoa Salad

Ashley really challenged our group to consider dietary intake along with physical activity to create balanced wellness.  Here are a few of the key nuggets that I took away:

  • During every eating occasion, we should be getting in some vegetables.
  • When people are looking to lose weight, the idea of quantity can take people to a negative place.  In reality, quantity can be your best friend, as it give you permission to enjoy every food you want to consume.  Just don’t overwhelm the body with too much of any one thing!
  • Counting calories is out; nutrient balance is in.  If at every eating occasion you seek balance, that balance is going to help you give the body what it needs in that moment. (A calorie counter myself, I’m going to have to research this one a little more.)

After Ashley’s talk, we went downstairs to watch a healthy cooking demonstration.  Chef Paolo from Bistro Elaia walked us through the creation of a GORGEOUS quinoa salad that I’m going to have to re-create VERY soon.

FitSocial Recipe:  Asian-Styled Quinoa Salad

To me, there is nothing like watching beautiful, colorful vegetables being chopped and created to become a fabulously satisfying meal.  And, because I love to cook, I also like to watch people cook… and love to pick up new tips, skills associated with their style of cooking.  I was watching Chef Paolo closely… and gosh, I envy his knife skills!

FitSocial Recipe:  Asian-Styled Quinoa Salad

So, let’s talk about what he was cooking up in the kitchen: QUINOA (pronounced KEEN-wa).

Quinoa is a beautiful grain, packed with nutrients.  Many people use quinoa as a replacement for rice, and it’s become highly popular amongst vegetarians as it’s a fantastic source of protein.  Example:  1 cup of quinoa contains 8g of protein, with only 220 calories per cup.

FitSocial Recipe:  Asian-Styled Quinoa Salad

I’ve eaten a lot of quinoa, but I seriously think that this quinoa is one of the best I’ve had.  It combines all of my favorite brightly-colored veggies an amazing asian vinaigrette.  DELISH!

Asian-Styled Quinoa Salad

From Chef Paolo Neville at Bistro Elaia

Makes 8 servings


FitSocial Recipe:  Asian-Styled Quinoa Salad

For the Salad

2 cups quinoa, uncooked

2 carrots, shredded

1 broccoli head, shredded

1 cup chopped/shredded red cabbage

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 cucumber, diced

1 avocado, diced

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1 1/2 cup edamame beans, thawed

For the Dressing

1-2 Tbsp. lite soy sauce

1 tsp. sesame oil

1 tsp rice wine vinegar or lime juice

2 Tbsp. green onion, chopped

1/4 tsp. ginger

Pinch of red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper


1.  Cover quinoa with cold water and soak for 1 hour.  Drain and rinse thoroughly.  Place quinoa and 2 1/2 cups cold water in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, turn down to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and spread out on a baking sheet to cool.

2.  Grate the carrots and broccoli head and place in a large bowl.  Chop the red cabbage, red peppers, cucumber, and cilantro.  Add to the large bowl.

FitSocial Recipe:  Asian-Styled Quinoa Salad

3.  Dice the avocado, and place in a separate small bowl.  Note:  Chef advised to keep the avocado separate and to add it to the salad right before you serve it.  Avocado will otherwise break down.  

4.  To prepare the dressing, whisk together all dressing ingredients in a small mixing bowl.

5.  Combine the cooled quinoa, edamame, and dressing in the large bowl of vegetables and mix well.  Once all is well incorporated place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Top with avocado before sharing with your guests.

FitSocial Recipe:  Asian-Styled Quinoa Salad

Per 1/8 recipe serving:

CAL 286; CARB 48.5g; FAT 6.4g; PROT 12; FIB 11.2g; WW Points Plus: 7