Veggie and Quinoa Salad with garlic chili Oil

The summer heat here is killing and we were showered with a bit of rain due to the Jimena hurricane hitting Arizona and New Mexico.  Its hard for me to step into the kitchen , especially when its raining . I dont want to miss even a teensy weensy bit as rain is a rarity in this part of the world. However , the rumbling in my stomach reminded me that I had to make a meal for us. I set about throwing almost everything I had in the pantry as we are going away for the long weekend and I want to empty the crisper. I dislike coming back from a vacation , just to realize the stale veggies in the crisper. I threw in whatever I could find , the end result was a beautiful spicy faux grain and veggie salad. Quinoa is actually a fruit seed.


1  and 1/2 cups of quinoa cooked , I cook it in the pressure cooker with 2 and 1/4 of water for 2 whistles , cool and fluff with a fork.

2 cups of veggies like , broccoli , avocado , bell peppers

A handful of pan seared tempeh and onions in the chili garlic oil

If you are not a fan of tofu or tempeh , you can substitute with almonds , hazelnuts or cooked legumes of your choice .

Add a teaspoon of cumin powder

Toss all the above gently and serve at room temperature.

Garlic Chili Oil

The preparation of this particular Oil is pretty simple. However , one has to remember that flavored oils whose recipes include any ingriedents that contain water , tend to become rancid in a week’s time. I make small batches , maybe 15 tablespoons at a time and plan my meals ahead . As much as they make great gifts ,remember that we are not preparing them commercially.


When such stuff is prepared commercially , they dehydrate the ingredients completely  by soak them in vinegar or just leaving them in the sun and then add to the oil. While researching on the net , I read that the vinegar they use is 3-4 times potent than the one we buy off the supermarket shelves.  I love the idea of having parmesan and chili together  or fresh herbs as the labels indicate , however they are a waste if you make them at home and dont use them within the stipulated time  and might be a health hazard due to the bacterial growth that occurs by using ingredients containing water, in this case.

If you are a sucker for flavored oils like me , use dry herbs instead of fresh , if using fresh herbs or garlic or ginger  , make them and use them within a week.

There are different ways to make use of it , marinate your favorite veggies , tofu , tempeh , meat with it . Drizzle some on your salads or sides  or beans. Use it as a dipping oil for some crusty bread with a pinch of salt , I drizzle it especially on a baby spring mix , if I’m in no mood to make a nice vinaigrette from scratch . I also make a quick salsa with this oil as the base and then I also dip my finger and lick it to satiate my taste buds !  I also love it to drizzle sweet cherry tomatoes with it .. or char them on the skillet with this oil. I also pan sear tofu and tempeh using this oil

So now you know what was on the menu since a week :) !

Lastly , store in a sterilized jar and refrigerate the oil without fail  , else you are helping the bacteria to grow.

Here are some sterilization links

Sterilizing using the oven and dishwasher

to sterlilize in the microwave : I pour a little water  say about half fill the jar and microwave it for about 3-5 minutes . Then I pour the water out and invert them to dry off and I wash the lids quickly under the hot water and dry them off thoroughly and then store the Oil , preserves etc and screw the lid tightly.

My process to make this oil is very simple. In India once we peel large amounts of garlic , especially for use in mango pickles , we leave the garlic in the sun for a day or two and then add them to the mango pickle . I did the same thing here , My measurement is 1 :1 i.e add 1 garlic pods per tablespoon , so I peeled 15 garlic pods and left them in the phoenix  heat for a day ( note that the temperatures hit 109 F last week) you might need another day extra if you live in a cooler place.

Then the next day , I heated  up good quality olive oil , I did not boil it  or wait until it turned acrid or rancid , I just warmed it up a bit more than luke warm , switched off the heat and added the garlic pods and 1 teaspoon of chipotle chilli powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt .  , if you dont have this on hand , you can use any chili  powder/flakes of your choice. I added salt because this helps to keep the oil from not turning rancid. I do not chop the garlic as I like the flavor to be mild , but I do use the garlic from the oil , if the recipe calls for a bit more than the flavor in the oil.


All in all , I enjoy the process and love drizzling it on every possible dish I can think of .

What is your favorite flavored Oil ? Do let me know !

On another note , I won the No croutons required for August ‘o9. Thanks to all those who voted and congratulations to all the participants !

Have a great weekend everyone ! See you guys next week !

14 thoughts on “Veggie and Quinoa Salad with garlic chili Oil

  1. Parita says:

    Salad looks very colorful, never tried flavored oil as yet..sounds too good. Congratulations on winning the Aug edition of No Croutons Required :)

  2. Sharmila says:

    That’s a great info on how to make the oil. I guess I’ll use dried herbs .. but can I use ginger and garlic after sunning them … I get a lot of sun here. Thanks. :-)

  3. Soma says:

    congrats congrats!! i am fascinated with quinoa, making it atleast one time a week. love your addition of tempeh/tofu.

    I do garlic, rosemary & red chilli in my flavored oil.. & then use it like an insane person:-) love flavored oils.

  4. Pavani says:

    Lovely salad and very nice clicks. Never tried my hand on making flavored oils, but your post inspired me to make some. Congrats on winning “No Croutons reqd”.

  5. Shri says:

    Congrats!Loved the pic that you sent to NCR.The oil looks perfect along with salad!I adore EVOO and use it in salads,pastas..The only other oil I like is the flavored oil that you get in a restaurant-Bravo!Will try yours!

  6. Madhuram says:

    Amazing clicks Dee. It’s been a long time since I bought quinoa. Should get it the next time I go grocery shopping.

    I too have not come out from my vacation mood. Or maybe I’m just lazy. Will catch up with you soon.

    Hugs, Madhu

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