How to make healthy choices every day

Kaniwa Farewell to Summer Salad


And suddenly, it’s autumn.

Strange how a season can sometimes just roll in and take over, from one day to the next. Tuesday I was wearing sandals and now, 48 hours later, that seems like a pretty impractical thing to do. Sniff.

I thought I should send summer off in style with a fresh salad celebrating the waning produce that tastes of long days, bright sun, and warm winds. And! A newcomer in my life, Kaniwa; a very groovy little seed that whispers of autumn in all its burnished amber glory.


New Kaniwa on the Block
I have been hearing more and more about Kaniwa lately, some of you out there even asking me how to use it and feature it in a recipe. Well, it’s our lucky day because this stuff is tasty, versatile, and power-packed with nutrients!

Much like quinoa and amaranth, kaniwa is a seed – not a grain – and therefore gluten-free. And although kaniwa is often referred to as “baby quinoa” it is in fact not from the same plant and has slightly different properties. For one, kaniwa does not contain any saponins, the natural, protective coating that gives quinoa a bitter flavour if not properly rinsed before cooking. Secondly, kaniwa seeds are teeny tiny, almost like amaranth, and are a deep reddish-brown colour. The taste is similar to quinoa however, especially red quinoa, with a rich nuttiness that pairs wonderfully with both sweet and savory dishes. And also like quinoa, kaniwa is very high in protein, fiber, calcium and iron.

Kaniwa cooks in 15-20 minutes so it makes a quick breakfast porridge – just simmer the seeds in milk (dairy or non-dairy milk – it’s up to you), maybe add some warming spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, a sweetener like honey or maple syrup, chopped seasonal fruit, and some crunchy toasted nuts and seeds. Simple, delicious and full of good energy to fuel your morning! Kaniwa is also a great protein boost to add to soups and stews while they’re simmering on the stove. Simply toss some in at the start of cooking, and make sure that there is enough broth or water in the pot to cook the kaniwa. Of course kaniwa is the perfect salad base too, so start experimenting with all the textures and flavours that compliment its slightly crunchy, nutty qualities.


There is something so nostalgic and summery about grilling so I thought it would be only fitting to use that cooking method to bid farewell to my favorite season. I don’t have an outdoor grill in my apartment, only a grill pan, but it worked just as well as the real deal.

I am always astonished at how much flavour is added to foods just by altering the way you expose it to heat. Grilling makes veggies smoky, while caramelizing the natural sugars inside, so much I find that there is little need for a dressing. This salad had big plans for a mustard based sauce of sorts, but once I took my first bite of the dish undressed, simply drizzled with olive oil, I knew that it had the gumption to stand naked all on its own. Here I am world, grilled and gorgeous!


40 thoughts on “Kaniwa Farewell to Summer Salad”

  • Ooh, I’ve never heard of kaniwa, but I LOOOVE quinoa, so you can be sure I’ll be trying this! Thanks for the recipe and all the info!

  • Sarah, do grains need to be soaked in an acidic medium, or just pure water?
    I am very confused about soaking.

    Thank you!!

  • Pingback: Laverna Loston
  • I made this recipe for my boyfriend and I to take to work today (we ate everything – and the recipe is for four portions!). It was amazing! LOVE the pickled onions! Thanks so much for the recipe!

  • Thank you so much for this recipe, I’m going to make it this week! I really enjoy quinoa, so I’m excited to try Kaniwa. I agrre with a previous comment, please make a cook book!

  • I made this for dinner tonight with red and black quinoa and it was wonderful. I used all the fresh veg I got at the farmers’ market this weekend and added a little fresh coriander. Those onions were a marvellous addition and totally made the dish. I like how simple this is for a weekday evening and the leftovers will be great for lunch tomorrow 😀 Thanks for sharing!

  • Made this tonight by roasting the veg in the oven. I only put in half the corn but added mushrooms and some red onion. Roasted mushrooms and beans with the goat feta and the sweetness of the corn was divine!!!

  • This salad was an absolute hit! Never having heard about kaniwa before, I took the risk by trying out this recipe for the first time tonight for my mother’s birthday dinner. Everyone loved it – even our 3 year old said it was yummy. My mother thought it was the best thing she had tasted in months. I encourage other cautious Canadian home cooks to try it for your family!

  • Oh wow! I tried a dish with kaniwa when I was in Peru, but when I saw the word kaniwa on the menu, I didn’t realize it was one of the ingredients! I just thought the kaniwa was a special type of quinoa! Food mystery solved!

  • We love kañiwa here in Peru! I hardly ever see it at any mainstream restaurants, but the organic vegan and vegetarian restaurants do a great job incorporating it into the dishes. Not many Peruvians in Lima even cook with it actually. Same goes for quinoa. It sells for pennies here. There are so many new foods that are still being discovered in Peru (such as huayllabambana seed which has more Omega-3 than any other fruit or vegetable, more than the Peruvian nut Sacha Inchi). I could go on for days.

    Thank you for another lovely recipe!

  • What a lovely and easy dish to bid farewell to my favorite season. My husband and I are organic vegetables farmers in Oregon and we are beginning our fall harvest next week. I’m sad to say goodbye to some of my favorite summertime staples, but the fall has a lot of lovely veggies in store!

  • another easy to achieve and healthy and delectable post – hooray 🙂
    gorgeous dish, great mind and such a giving woman, we’re blessed to have this access to you!

  • Gorgeous! This looks wonderful. I will be bidding the summer farewell with this dish too! I’m going to have to tuck my girls in bed and have a few quiet moments alone to relax and enjoy the flavors of the salad as I think back to where the summer has gone. Great idea.

  • Kaniwa…It sounds cute, it looks gorgeous and I’m sure it also tastes fantastic! This is the first time I hear about these little seeds and I’m so excited to try them! Thank you for this inspirational post, Sarah.

    Oh and I learned something new about quinoa as well. I didn’t know that the purpose of rinsing it carefully is to get rid of that bitterness.

  • The tiny Kaniwa seeds look rather dainty, I’ll have to search for it now since I’ve never heard of it before. Sarah, you sure are a wealth of knowledge and I am pinning your pretty salad now! The summer went by too fast indeed, you go from wearing short sleeves to having double layer now.

    Thank you lovely lady! 🙂

  • I LOVE Kaniwa – i first had it at a little South American restaurant in Idaho – it was added w instead of quinoa in tortilla soup – Delicious!
    Thanks for this exciting salad – making it tomorrow 🙂

  • I’m so happy you posted this! About 6 months ago I bought some Kaniwa/canawa and could find almost no information about it on the internet. One thing I found after cooking it was that it’s really bouncy. Some even bounced into my hair. Other than that it was pretty good. 🙂

  • It’s just wild how seasons can change! Except here in Brisbane, Australia, it’s gone from winter to summer in a matter of weeks! It’s still the first month of spring, and yesterday was already 30 C (86 F)! So this salad looks like perfect summer-inspiration for the hot months to come. Thanks for sharing about kaniwa – I’ll keep my eyes open for it from now on!

  • Oh man, I think this would taste great with a variety of different sauces and dressings. Sounds like it was just perfectly fine without it, thought! I totally agree that summer went by wayyyy to fast, per the usual. One of the best things about the summer is all of the wonderful, abundant produce! I’m excited to try Kaniwa, too. Never heard of it but it is ADORABLE and therefore I adore it. Thanks for the idea!

  • I’ve got a little cast iron grill pan in my apartment, too. Makes grilling vegetables a dream! And I love how there’s no need for a dressing on this salad…makes it even easier to whip up in no time. I’ll be picking up the last of the summer produce at my farmers market tomorrow and I’ll keep this pretty salad in mind!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *