Fried Quinoa and Okra Salad with Heirloom Tomato

“This recipe is a happy result of running a zero-waste kitchen.  When you find yourself with 1/4 cup or so of leftover quinoa, try this refreshing and delicious summer salad!”

Recipe submitted by Emily Gaddis – Alter Eco 2014 Quinoa Recipe Contest Finalist




Pistachio pesto vinaigrette

1 tsp finely minced preserved lemon peel

1 tbsp cane vinegar (or other mild vinegar)

2 tbsp pistachio oil

1 tbsp finely minced fresh basil


Tomato salad

1 large heirloom tomato or 2­-3 smaller heirloom tomatoes, sliced

½ small red onion very thinly sliced

a few hand ripped pieces of fresh mozzarella (about ¼ cup)


Fried quinoa and okra

2 tbsp whole raw pistachios

¼ cup cooked leftover Royal Black quinoa

2 cups washed & dried fresh okra; ends trimmed and cut lengthwise into 4 long strips

grapeseed (or other neutral oil) for high heat frying


In a cast iron pan on medium high heat, pour in enough oil to shallow fry okra (about ½ an inch).  Line a baking sheet with paper towels – ­okra, quinoa, and pistachios will be drained here in separate piles. When the oil is hot, fry okra in 2­-3 batches until medium golden brown and drain on paper towels. Fry quinoa in remaining oil, stirring and turning occasionally for about 5 minutes or until it clusters and turns golden around edges. Remove quinoa from pan and let drain on paper towels. There should be just a little oil left in the pan, toast the pistachios for about 2 minutes or until they release fragrance and change color slightly. Stir them constantly so they don’t burn. The goal is to fry in most to least oil so there is little to no oil wasted when the dish is finished. When pistachios have cooled, chop them roughly.



Scatter onions on plates or platter if preparing as a side dish, tomatoes go on top of onions, then okra, then quinoa, then mozzarella, finish with chopped pistachios and pesto vinaigrette. Add a fresh basil leaf to garnish if you have extra.


Serves 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side dish

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