Jollof (Quinoa) Salad







I am listening to Mozart’s Piano Concerto 21. What that has to do with the obviously fantastic recipe I am sharing today I am not quite sure. I felt like sharing, so I shared. I feel more enriched, don’t you? There are a lot of spices in my spice cupboard (that I have no idea what to do with). As embarrassing as this is for me to admit I never even used cumin until about six months ago. I had until that point believed strongly in basil, oregano and salt. I was in many ways like a spice virgin. Does that mean I am now a spice girl? (I’m sorry, I may be taking my pop music puns a little far.) While I loved cinnamon (and on rare occasions cloves) I had convinced myself that such “warming” spices were predestined to only ever be dessert spices.

Then. I got bored.

If you were expecting a more exciting plot line I apologize. Although I don’t really know what else you were expecting from a woman that just graduated with Bachelor of Arts in English. (Do you hear that magical Internet job recruiters, I’m new, I’m on fire and I’m all yours!) Back to my story – I got bored with my limited spice vocabulary so I began experimenting. Things were good for awhile. Like all new love affairs there were madly passionate moments filled with heat, tenderness and just enough pleasurably excited taste buds. Yet as I’m sure you’ve heard variety is the spice of life – and well the spice of spices as well. There are only so many times you can do the exact same thing to your food before you will find yourself questioning whether you were ever in love at all. Was it all a lie? Did the spices mean anything they’d sai-


Like all struggling and heartbroken young cooks – I turned to Google. (Google is a girl’s best friend, don’t let Marilyn fool you.) Since I have lived on only two continents in my life (North and South America), my palette has not been stretched as much as I would like it to be. And being a woman with enough food allergies to sink the Titanic without an iceberg eating out isn’t really an option. Ever. So any and all adventures my food takes me on start in my own kitchen. Google did not let me down and I discovered Jollof Rice. A new continent! Africa – a continent so vividly diverse it hardly seems fair to have one six letter name. Jollof Rice, originating in West Africa (exactly where is contested), is a delightful mixture of rice, tomato paste, vegetables and spices. My salad then is taking some (a lot) of liberties in calling itself Jollof – but I believe in giving credit where credit is due and my inspiration was hardly my own. Packed with flavour and spices, this delicious homage to those know that cinnamon isn’t only for desserts stores well in the fridge for up to a week. (Although I don’t really think it will last that long.)

Download my pretty pdf or scroll just a little further for on-screen instructions.



Ingredients. Prep time: 30 min. Cook time: 60 min.

1/4 c. fresh ginger minced
1 c. onion minced
1/4 c. coconut oil
2 1/2 tsp. turmeric
4 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. mace
1/2 tsp. jalapeño flakes
1 tsp. sea salt
3 tbs. fresh lemon juice
4 c. coconut milk
2 c. quinoa


2 c. cubed peppers
1 c. finely chopped green onion
1 1/2 c. cubed carrots
1 c. finely chopped celery


large saucepan
cutting board
chef’s knife

1. In a large saucepan melt coconut oil on medium heat, once melted add fresh minced ginger and minced onion to the pan

2. Sauté onions and ginger until the onions begin to caramelize and grow soft

3. Add coconut milk, lemon juice and spices to the saucepan

4. Cover the saucepan with a lid and bring to a boil, once boiling allow to simmer for 15 minutes

5. While the coconut milk simmers chop peppers, green onions, carrots and celery into bite sized cubes – place in a bowl and store in your refrigerator for the time being

6. After your coconut milk mixture has simmered for 15 minutes add your dry quinoa to the saucepan

7. If the mixture is not boiling bring the mixture back to a raucous boil, once boiling set a timer for 15 minutes place a lid back on the saucepan and leave it to boil

8. When your timer goes off turn off the heat and move the saucepan to another unused element without removing the lid

9. Allow the saucepan to sit (without once removing the lid, the key is to trap the steam in the saucepan) for 20 minutes

10. After 20 minutes remove the lid of the saucepan and stir your now cooked quinoa to release the steam and heat, place the saucepan without a lid in your refrigerator or a cool room for 20 or more minutes, stir occasionally to release steam and heat from the quinoa

11. Once cool combine the quinoa with the chopped vegetables and serve



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