Food for Fitness: Quinoa SUPER salad

NOT a fan of Quinoa??

I am going to be really honest with you. Up till yesterday, I had very low feelings and enthusiasm about this grain that seems to have taken the health food market by storm! I have tried to several times before but each time, it seems rather bland with a texture that was either overly dry or a little soggy: neither making me run back for seconds! But after a little research shining some light on how to handle these little seedlings so that they become a satisfying part of a meal (thanks and gratitude to you at I feel more positive and confident about cooking them AND all importantly, enjoying them!

What is Quinoa?

Quinoa (you say in like KEEN–WAH) is a pseudocereal! It is pseudo because actual cereal grains (oats, wheat, rice etc.) come from the grass family but quinoa doesn’t. You may be wondering then why do we call it a cereal? This is simply because we use it the the way we use and enjoy cereal grains. For example, it is often used as rice alternative.  We buy it in its seed form and cook it to get all the best nutrients from it.

Why Quinoa?

Quinoa has many health benefits – so many that you could probably write a short book on it but essentially what you NEED TO KNOW is that it is high in protein, amino acids and fibre. High protein means that it is great for keeping your full and it helps your body recover from workouts. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and help you build muscle and regulate immune function. And because it is high in fibre it is great for your digestive system. If you need any more encouragement, it is also LOW GI which means that it is good for balancing your blood sugars, releasing energy over a long period of time and reducing sugar cravings! Winner winner!

Who is it suitable for?

Another bonus is that it is gluten and wheat free so you can feed a crowd without having to worry about substitutes for those with wheat and gluten allergies.

How super can you make your food?

It is somewhat depressing to eat healthy by having a big long list of the things you aren’t allowed to eat. Instead, it is more exciting to focus on what foods should I focus on and how can I include them easily into my meal and snack choices? Mind-set is everything and feeling happy alongside what you are doing is essential for long term change.

How should you cook Quinoa?

It is worth bearing in mind that quinoa triples in size when it cooks so that can help you with your portion estimation. I say make more than you need as then you can easily add it to stir-frys or salads in days to come (you can keep it in the fridge for 4 days afterwards and it will be fine). Use 1 part quinoa and 2 parts boiling water. Cook uncovered until all the water has gone (roughly 15 minutes) and then cover for five minutes off the heat to steam cook it a little longer. Then remove the lid and fluff it up using a fork. It is now ready for seasoning and adding to your many delicious dishes!

My Quinoa super salad!!

My Recipe

I set myself up for success by choosing my favourite ingredients. If there is anything you don’t like or would prefer, you can make a simple swap. I love halloumi but if you prefer feta or goats cheese, I think they would work equally well. No matter what, try to make it colourful! You can use less ingredients or just add what you have in the fridge.


Red quinoa


Olive oil



Red pepper

Butternut squash


Halloumi or vegan alternative


  1. Roast chopped butternut squash pieces and whole red pepper for 25 minutes
  2. Measure out 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water, bring to boil and cook until all water is gone (roughly 15 minutes).
  3. Fry slices of halloumi
  4. Cover quinoa for 5 minutes then fluff with fork
  5. Add garlic clove (not chopped) and olive oil to quinoa and stir for flavour. Use salt to taste.
  6. Add spinach to quinoa
  7. Boil peas
  8. Chop pepper and squash and throw everything together apart from the cheese
  9. Serve into bowls and place cheese on top


I hope you enjoy this as much as I did! It is also a delicious side order to fish or chicken dishes. Extras can be kept in fridge for lunch or you can batch cook it for your weekday lunches – so many possibilities!

Keep it simple!!

Keep things simple and eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full. Always allow yourself a little of whatever you fancy – trust that your body knows what you need and how much of it to have. Be sure to LISTEN ALWAYS.

Let’s show the future generations how to love and take care of ourselves whilst enjoying life being a healthy weight. It is your relationship with food that changes you.

Let me know if you make this and what you think of it! Also, please feel free to send me any of your favourite quinoa recipes to inspire my journey further at,

Until next time,

Victoria xx

Victoria Mairiaux-Jones

I'm a Personal Trainer dedicated to improving my clients health and fitness. I work with people of all ages and levels of fitness, across Leamington, Warwick and Warwickshire. Lose Weight and get fit with Free Spirit Fitness Culture.

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