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Asian Quinoa with Salmon from Weeknights with Giada

A recent read of mine was Weeknights with Giada: Quick and Simple Recipes to Revamp Dinner. Aimed at busy parents, it has plenty of “kid-friendly” meals to choose from that are thankfully not mac n’ cheese or chicken nuggets! I was intrigued to try one of her quinoa recipes, I am always looking for new ones. I added two bell peppers in ours, I felt the dish needed some vegetables. I served it with crunchy rice crackers.

Asian Quinoa with Salmon, adapted from page 149


  • 3 cups lower sodium broth, vegetable or chicken
  • 1½ cups quinoa, rinsed and shaken off
  • 2 tsp 5 spice powder (see below for recipe)
  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil (used sunflower)
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp lower sodium soy sauce
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 2 6-ounce cans Wild Alaskan Pink Salmon, Skinless & Boneless, drained
  • Cilantro leaves, fresh or freeze-dried, chopped finely


In a medium saucepan, bring the broth, quinoa and 5 spice powder to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, 15 minutes, Set aside for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, oil, sesame oil, soy sauce and salt to taste (if desired).

Meanwhile heat a large skillet over medium, add in the 1 Tablespoon of oil and the bell peppers, sauté until browning and crisp. Add the salmon, breaking up, take off the heat.

Toss the quinoa with the salmon, pour the dressing on top and toss until all the ingredients are coated., Season to taste with salt and pepper, if desired and sprinkle on cilantro to taste.

Serves 4.

Yes you can easily enough buy 5 spice powder in many grocery stores, if you don’t use a lot of it, it goes stale. Consider making your own instead. This is the recipe from Mark Bittman’s Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with More Than 75 Recipes, on page 145. The spices become very aromatic, so only make if you like your house to be permeated with the fresh scent of cloves!

5 Spice Powder


  • 1 Tbsp Sichuan peppercorns or black peppercorns
  • 6 whole star anise
  • 1½ tsp whole cloves
  • One 3-inch stick cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp fennel seeds


Heat a dry skillet (use steel or similar, not non-stick) over medium heat. Add the spices, shaking occasionally and toast for 3 to 5 minutes, until fragrant. Grind the spices in a clean coffee or herb grinder (I have a coffee grinder I use for herbs). This makes quite a bit, nearly filling up a 4 ounce jar, so feel free to halve or even quarter the recipe!


FTC Disclaimer: We received a copy of the book for potential review.

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