Quinoa Salad with Pumpkin, lentils and light chilli

Quinoa Salad with Pumpkin, lentils and light chilli


  • Quinoa: 1/2 cup
  • Water: 1 cup
  • Garlic: 3 cloves
  • Butternut Pumpkin: 1/2
  • Chilli: 1/2
  • Lentils: 14 ounces
  • Cumin powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Lemon juice: 1 tablespoon
  • Coriander leaves: 7
  • Salt: 1/4 teaspoon


Is a salad truly a salad if it is not fresh and nutritious? I don’t think so. Salads are typically counted in the category of healthy food but the composition of the salad is the main criterion to judge whether it is actually healthy or not. Now this in turn is going to depend on your understanding of the nutritional value of various ingredients. If you that one of the commonly used base, formed of quinoa grain chiefly supplies protein to our bodies then you are on the right path to proper knowledge which is very much required if you really want to eat right and healthy. This is the point which separates the renowned chef from us common folk who like to experiment with food in the walls of their own kitchen.

Now this knowledge is going to take you all the way when coupled with right taste in a recipe. One of my all time favorites is this quinoa salad recipe that I am going to share with you all today. I think most people think bland and cook bland whenever they think salad because they feel that the option to have a sauce with it is always there. I say salad doesn’t have to be boring at all. Why leave it up to the novice consumer or the one who is going to have the food to make the choice of finding the right sauce. If you know your ingredients, spice them right to get the taste without having to depend on something external like a sauce or a curry. A slight addition like roasted garlic or a light chilli can do wonders for this recipe.

I have added both of these and raised the protein quotient of quinoa by adding some lentils to this quinoa salad recipe. The punch in the taste really comes from the bite sized pumpkin chunks in the salad which you can grill, bake or even sauté before adding to this recipe. I am a free spirit so I like to do it as I am feeling about it at the moment. Let me tell you about a slightly weird thing that I do sometimes when I want the taste to outweigh the nutrition quotient.

I add slight butter to the salad. You might be shocked because there are not many cooks who would take such a bold risk with a salad but I like to define my own limits so this is what I tend to do sometimes. At least in my experience the food tastes best when it a true expression of what your heart’s desire is. So, combine the heart with your head (do not forget the knowledge part I ranted about in the beginning) to create a masterpiece on the plate in the form of this quinoa salad recipe. This is the best one I have made so far and I wish a similar experience for you.

Good luck and let us get going:

  1. To the pumpkin chunks add the garlic and chilli. Do not forget to sprinkle some olive oil on the top. To this add all the remaining ingredients except the quinoa, coriander leaves and lentils.
  2. Set a baking dish and place some butter paper on it before you toss the prepared pumpkin on to it. This baking dish needs to be in the oven for around 40 minutes unless the pumpkin is soft enough to simply melt in the mouth and is no longer really chewy.
  3. Cook the quinoa in water for around 10 minutes and add the lentils when it has cooled down. You can increase or decrease the amount of water depending upon how fluff do you want your quinoa to be.
  4. Add the pumpkin pieces to the quinoa and lentils and get ready to plate after through mixing.
  5. Garnish the plated dish with coriander leaves or fresh basil leaves. Your dish is ready to be served.