main course salads

island quinoa

by jani on July 6, 2012

My love for exotic islands started with my first trip to Hawaii in 1958. It didn’t stop there… HB and I love the food, culture and breathtaking ocean scenery of anyplace tropical. Here in the U.S., we have available, food products from all over the world – allowing us the creativity to try exciting new recipes. Island Quinoa is a shout out to our Jamaican neighbors and a recipe filled with delicious flavors. We served our island quinoa salad with jerk seasoned shrimp.


Leave off the shrimp if you’re looking for a healthy and yummy vegetarian salad.


  • 1-1/2 c quinoa
  • 3 c coconut milk
  • 1/2 c pineapple juice
  • 1/2 c mango nectar
  • 1/2 each red, yellow and orange sweet peppers chopped
  • 3/4 c chopped cilantro 
  • 1-1/2 c chopped mango
  • 1 c toasted chopped macadamia nuts
  • 3 Tbsp finely chopped leeks or green onions
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger (optional)
  • 20-24 deveined shrimp (tail on)
  • 2 tsp butter
  • jerk seasoning (we prefer Kroger brand)
  • 1 fresh lime
  • 1 tsp curry (this was an after thought and adds such great flavor to the quinoa)

Serves 4

Cook quinoa in 3 cups coconut milk, bring to a boil, then simmer for about 12-15 minutes. Chill. Chop sweet peppers, cilantro and mango. Set aside. Toast chopped macadamia nuts at  325 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Let cool and set aside.

Finely chop 3 tablespoons white end of leek (approximately 3-4 slices), and 1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger, saute in one to two teaspoons butter.

Place chilled quinoa into pot, add sauteed leek mixture, 1/2 cup pineapple juice and 1/2 cup mango nectar. Cook until moisture is absorbed, mix in 1 tsp curry (or to taste). Chill for about one to two hours. Once quinoa is chilled, add the peppers, mango and cilantro to mixture.

Prepare jerk shrimp by squeezing the juice of one lime on both sides, then liberally cover shrimp with jerk seasoning.

Coat saute pan in olive oil spray. Cook shrimp,  turning until both sides are pink (do not overcook)

As shrimp is cooking add washed and dried butter lettuce leaves to plate. Mix macadamia nuts into quinoa (reserving 1/4 cup for garnish) and scoop onto plates. Add shrimp and enjoy!

This was completely experimental, but HB and I decided we will be serving this to future guests… we loved it that much! If you have any questions about this or any other previous post, don’t hesitate to send me your inquiries at Bon appétit!