Quinoa Salmon Salad with Fresh Lemon and Dill

quinoa salmon  dill lemon salad

quinoa salmon lemon and dill salad photo by vsimon

It’s too hot to cook!

Luckily, I have some leftover salmon from yesterday. What to do with it?

Quinoa is quick on the stovetop, it won’t heat up the kitchen.  I have lemons and celery in the fridge. Dried tomatoes in the freezer. And lots of fresh dill in the garden.

Quinoa colors

White, red, black, purple, orange? I have used white and red, the only difference is the color. Any color would work here, use whatever you have.

Wild or farm raised salmon?

There is only one answer for me, wild caught Alaskan salmon. Click on the link for a thorough review of all the issues at World’s Healthiest Foods website.

Lemons 1, 2, or 3?

You choose. Are you timid, or do you like lots of tangy lemon flavor? Are you making this to serve right away, or for tomorrow?

We like sharp, fresh lemon flavor and heady aroma. Personally, I almost don’t think you can get too much. And the flavor fades over time. So I made this with the zest and juice of two lemons for tonight. And will add the zest and juice of a third lemon before I serve the leftovers tomorrow.

I buy fresh lemons by the bag, not one at a time. Don’t even bother with that insipid bottled juice. And add fresh zest to anything that calls for juice.

And I hope you know, fresh lemons are a great way to add flavor to foods without adding a whole bunch of salt.

Dried tomatoes?

Yep, that is what I have. Dried from last years garden. Red, yellow and orange tomatoes. I know they look like colored bell peppers in the picture, but they are tomatoes. Come to think of it, sweet peppers would be good in this salad, but I didn’t have any.

I keep our thin dried tomatoes in the freezer because they are crispy and easy to break up into smaller pieces by hand. At room temp they are leathery and I need to cut them with a knife or scissors.

Our crop of garden tomatoes won’t be ripe until August. But by all means, use fresh tomatoes if you have good ones. I would stir in about 1 cup diced raw tomatoes at the end. Don’t cook them with the quinoa.

Fresh dill

Dill is a two-fer. The seeds and the soft feathery green fronds each have their purpose. Use the fronds here. Vince puts whole seed spays in jars of pickles. They are pretty and add flavor there.

Go ahead, plant this fragrant herb in your garden. Dill is so easy, you will only have to do it once. You will get volunteers every year after.

Sow a few seeds it in the veggie or the flower garden. It quickly grows about three feet high, with a starburst of seeds at the top.

If you can’t find a packet of seeds, just buy dill seeds in the spice aisle and plant them.

Dried dill weed works well in this recipe too. It is mild, don’t be afraid to use a few tablespoons. But you will miss out on the distinctive fragrance of fresh stalks.

Fresh herbs are another great help to add flavor without lots of salt too.

Quinoa Salmon Salad with Lemon and Dill

1 cup quinoa

2 cups of water

1/4 cup dried tomatoes, chopped

1/4 pound cooked salmon, flaked

1/2 cup diced celery

1, 2, or 3 fresh lemons, zest and juice

1/2 cup chopped fresh dill weed, soft fronds only

salt to taste

Check the quinoa package to see if you need to rinse it before cooking. Many kinds are now prewashed, saving you a step.

Add quinoa, water and dried tomatoes to a saucepan. Simmer for 5 minutes. Then cover the pan and let stand for 15 more minutes. It always comes out fluffy, not mushy this way.

Spread the quinoa tomato mixture on a rimmed sheet pan to cool quickly.

When cool, transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add celery and dill.

Add the zest and juice of as many lemons as you like. Toss to mix thoroughly. Taste and chill until ready to serve.

Flower garnish

Did you notice the nasturtiums in the photo above? They are from our garden too, and edible. The flowers are bright, beautiful and peppery. They provide a surprising kick of heat. They are easy to grow in full sun, flowering all summer long.

Cranberry Carrot Salad with Lemon and Honey

carrot-salad (14) 

cranberry carrot salad photo by vsimon

Do you need a super quick crunchy salad? Perfect for dinner, or a brown bag lunch?

The simplest recipes are often the best. If you are short on time and just want the recipe, skip the middle and go to the bottom of the post. That is the simplest way. You could be eating this in five minutes.

But keep reading if you want info on the ingredients.


If you buy shredded carrots, this mixes up in just a few minutes. Sweet, tart, and lively lemon flavor.

I like to keep a bag on hand. They hold up well, and are easy additions to soups, green salads, and even muffins.

Organic carrots

We can get shredded organic carrots in our market. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) website publishes a list of produce that has the highest, and lowest levels of pesticides.

The Dirty Dozen is the most likely to have high levels, and EWG recommends you by these items organic. EWG also publishes the Clean 15, produce that is least likely to have high pesticide levels. Buying organic doesn’t matter so much here.

You can print a wallet sized reference to take with you to the store. Carrots are #11 on the Dirty Dozen list.


Does a cranberry a day keep the doctor away? No, you probably need to eat  more than one. But a serving a day offers many health benefits.


I like to use organic lemons because I am using the outside, the part that would be sprayed with pesticides. Organic lemons are smaller than regular lemons, so you might need two here.

Also, organic lemons are not waxed. According the The World’s Healthiest Foods web site, sometimes the wax is mixed with casein, a protein in milk. This would be a very low amount, but might be important to know if you have a severe milk allergy.

Lemon Zest

At my house, if a dish has fresh lemon juice, it has zest too.  I never miss the happy opportunity to inhale the fresh scent of lemon zest. You can smell it across the room, but it is even better right under your nose.

A microplane makes swift work of zesting the peel. Personally, I don’t measure the zest and use all of it, from the whole lemon. As you probably can guess, I can’t get too much lemon zest.

If you are using a different tool to zest, be sure to catch just the outer yellow rind. The white pith is unpleasantly bitter.

Cranberry Carrot Salad

serves 4 metric measures
4 cups shredded carrots 360 gm
½ cup dried cranberries 75 gm
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 45 ml
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest weightless?
2 tablespoons honey 30 ml

Stir it all together until it glistens.

Serve right away if you like chewy cranberries.

Store in the fridge and serve the next day if you like plump, soft cranberries.

BTW, lemon juice is a good source of citrate. Helpful to prevent kidney stones. Maybe a lemon a day keeps the doctor away too.

PS I am changing the subject now. This is so cool! Bon Appetit magazine is holding a blogger Holiday Bake-Off. I have entered Pumpkin Custard, Hold the Dairy. Wouldn’t you love to see a gluten free, dairy free winner?

There are several categories, including cakes, pies, custards, cookies, more. If you are a blogger, add your creations at BA Holiday Bake-Off.

Everyone can vote for your favorite in each category. I would be honored to receive your vote.

R is for Rice

When you first learn about the gluten free diet, your are told no wheat, rye or barely.  But rice is nice. Maybe you thought, OK, that is simple, easy, and boring.

Au contraire. Rice is a staple all over the world. Think of standard dishes like Latin American arroz con pollo, Indian curries, Asian fried rice, Southern hopping john, Spanish paella, Italian risotto, Japanese sushi. These are some mighty tasty dishes.


field-of-rice photo by USA Rice

Rice forms

Did you think, “white on rice?” You know what I am picturing, plain white rice. But there is so much more to sample. Imagine, 7000 different kinds of rice  grown around the world! With every combination of color, shape, and size that you can think of. See rice and chicken salad with whole grain rice blend below.

Rice is available as a whole grain or refined, enriched or not. Refined rice has the bran and the germ removed. It is white and is less nutritious than whole grain rice. Unless it is enriched-with iron, niacin, thiamin and folic acid.

Dry rice is available raw, partially or fully cooked. Converted rice is steamed under pressure with the hull on, to force some of the nutrients into the grain. It is then refined to remove the hull. It cooks quicker than whole grain rice, but not quite as quickly as white does.

Instant rice is fully cooked rice that is dehydrated and packaged. It is usually blah and mushy, I am not a fan. Some kinds of fully cooked rice are now available, needing only 90 seconds to warm. These are usually seasoned and you must read the label for gluten containing ingredients.


7-kinds-of-rice photo by vsimon

from the top and clockwise- basmati, arborio, just a tiny bit of forbidden, black glutinous (it isn’t all black), black and mahogany blend, whole grain blend, long-grain brown and wild rice blend


Whole grain rice comes in many colors including brown, red, mahogany, and black. And even several scents. Jasmine really does smell like Jasmine flowers, and Wehani rice smells like popcorn when it is cooked. That is enough to get your taste buds going.


Long grain rice– think long and lanky. The grains stay separate and fluffy when cooked and are perfect for dishes like rice pilaf, or as a bed for saucy dishes. Basmati and Jasmine are common kinds of long grain rice.

Medium grain rice– shorter with a bit thicker grain, average in every way. Use it in average dishes. 🙂

Short grain rice– the short fat guys of the rice world. The grains are especially starchy and sticky. I think we should use short grain rice more often.

  • Arborio is a type of refined short grain rice and perfect for tender white risotto and rice pudding. The rice gives the creamy consistency even without adding cream.
  • Sushi rice is another short type and the grains stick together well.
  • Sweet or glutinous rice is a form of short grain rice. Although it is called glutinous because it is sticky, it does not have any gluten in it. I use sweet rice flour all the time to thicken sauces, even for clients that are not gluten free. It simply works better than wheat flour, does not clump after being frozen and thawed, and it is inexpensive. It imparts no flavor or color to the sauce.
  • I use sweet brown rice, dried fruit and spice to make breakfast risotto in my crock-pot overnight. This risotto is a bit toothsome with a sweet syrupy base. Think about inhaling deeply as you arise to the fragrance of warm cinnamon. I will post this recipe in the cool fall.


It is all small, but some kinds are smaller than others. Really small, only ¼ of an inch long. It is cute and it cooks quickly.


white rice photo by USA Rice

Cooking rice

Whole grain rice can take 30-45 minutes on the stovetop. But I cook it in the pressure cooker all the time. This usually takes only 10-15 minutes.

White rice takes about 15 minutes on the stovetop.

Dry instant rice can be ready in 5-10 minutes.

Many people swear by their rice cookers. And some more just swear at them. I have not tried a rice cooker, so cannot comment on them. I simply do not want another space taking tool in the kitchen.


I like whole grain, just as nature intended. All the pretty colors and fiber intact. Though any rice, even whole grain, is not really a high fiber food. Enriched rice is lower in fiber, but higher in iron, niacin, thiamin and folic acid. It is higher than the original whole grain rice the processors started with. Especially for folate.

One cup of cooked enriched white rice provides about 1/3 the daily requirement for folic acid. Maybe that is important to you. Or maybe you take a daily multivitamin and it does not really matter.

ricesalad (2)

rice-chicken-red-grape-salad-with-whole-grain-rice-blend  photo by vsimon

Whole Grain Rice, Chicken, and Red Grape Salad

This is adapted long ago from a “country” magazine,                                                 but I am sorry I do not know which one.

Serves 6                                              Metric measures

1 cup whole grain rice blend               170 gm

2 cups water                                       500 ml

1 pound cooked, diced chicken           1/2 kg

1 1/2 cup red grapes                          150 gm

1 cup peas, fresh or frozen                 150 gm

2 celery ribs, sliced                              same

4 green onions, sliced                         same

2 tablespoons vinegar                        30 ml

1 tablespoon gluten free soy sauce   15 ml

2 tsp toasted sesame oil                    10 ml

1/2 cup slivered almonds                    60 gm

Put rice and broth in a pressure cooker. Lock and bring to pressure. Cook rice for 15 minutes. Allow to cool naturally. Or cook on the stovetop according to package directions.

Allow rice to cool. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Serve chilled, room temperature, or warmed.

*I have attempted to add metric measures for our friends in the rest of the world. Please let me know if some of it makes no sense.

What is your favorite rice, and your favorite rice dish?