Dana Slatkin

M Cafe’s Scarlet Quinoa Salad

Quinoa SaladIf you are looking for a way to get delicious quinoa into your brood’s diet, this is probably not that recipe. Yes, this jewel-toned dish couldn’t be lovelier — crunchy, subtly sweet and salty, it is mysteriously addictive. My girlfriends and I gobble it up. But it is not what I would call kid-friendly.

Some recipes are better left for the grown-ups. This sophisticated salad is all about the beets and the ume, or Japanese sour plum. Its intriguing flavor is hard to beat, so I encourage you to seek out the Ume Vinegar called for in this recipe. Don’t worry, the bottle won’t go to waste…you will end up reaching for it next time you make a vinaigrette or chutney, to jazz up cole slaw, or to brighten up cooked lentils. I use canned sliced beets because they save time and also yield a gorgeous juice to color the quinoa.

M Café is my favorite fast-food spot for beautifully-presented, healthful macrobiotic cuisine. A while back, someone wrote to The Los Angeles Times requesting this recipe, which the chef was gracious enough to share. I couldn’t resist passing it on, with a few tweaks to cut the total prep time to under 30 minutes. Which makes it the perfect salad or side for a weeknight feast with family or friends.

Then again, in my house, it’s lunch for one.

If quinoa is your thing (as it is mine), you will love my Mushroom Quinoa Risotto.

The October cooking contest is almost closed! Send in your favorite pumpkin or squash recipe here to win some Farmgirl kitchen favorites!

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  1. Susan Phillips says:

    Thank you so much for posting the scarlet quinoa recipe from M Cafe. It is my favorite side dish at the restaurant, and I made it tonight for a dinner party, it turned out nearly as good as at the restaurant, except that I forgot the dill! I will certainly make it again.

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