Quinoa Salad with Shiitake Mushrooms and Leeks

The earthy flavors of quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah), mushrooms and goat cheese are wonderfully balanced by the classic vinaigrette dressing in this easy-to-make side dish.


  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) quinoa (see Cook's Tip))
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) water
  • 5 dried shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
  • 2 leeks, white and light green portions only
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) snipped fresh mint leaves
  • 2 oz (60 g) goat cheese, crumbled


  1. For dressing, whisk vinegar, garlic pressed with Garlic Press and salt in Small Batter Bowl. Slowly add oil, whisking until well blended, set aside.

  2. For salad, place quinoa, water, shiitake mushrooms and salt in (3-qt./2.8 L) Saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover; reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

  3. Meanwhile, cut leeks in half lengthwise, then into 4-in (10 cm) pieces using Santoku Knife. Heat Grill Pan over medium-high heat 5 minutes. Place leeks in pan; brush with some of the dressing using Chef's Silicone Basting Brush. Place Grill Press over leeks; grill 3-5 minutes, turning once. Remove leeks from pan; cool slightly, then cut into thin slices.

  4. Snip mint using Professional Shears. In Stainless (2-qt./2 L) Mixing Bowl, combine quinoa mixture, leeks, mint, goat cheese and remaining dressing; mix gently. Serve warm or at room temperature.


  • 4  servings of 1/2 cup/125 ml

Nutrients per serving:

Calories 240, Total Fat 10 g, Saturated Fat 3.5 g, Cholesterol 10 mg, Carbohydrate 32 g, Protein 8 g, Sodium 530 mg, Fiber 3 g


U.S. Diabetic exchanges per serving:

 2 starch, 1/2 vegetable, 2 fat (2 carb)

Cook's Tips:

Quinoa is an ivory, bead-shaped seed that is treated like a grain and has a delicate flavor. It is considered a "super grain" because it contains all eight essential amino acids.

Couscous can be substituted for the quinoa, if desired. Add the shiitake mushrooms and salt to the water and bring to a boil. Add the couscous. Remove from heat and cover to hydrate.

Dry shiitake mushrooms need to be hydrated before using and have a concentrated flavor and meaty texture.

Cut leeks in half lengthwise before washing to remove any grit. The white and light green parts of the leek are the most tender portions; do not use the dark green leaves.

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