Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Quinoa Salad

  • 2 C uncooked quinoa

  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced

  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced

  • 1/3-1/2 C diced red onion

  • 1/2 -1 C fresh cilantro, chopped

  • 1/4 C olive oil

  • 1/4 C lemon juice

  • 1-2 Tbsp ground cumin

  • 1-2 tsp salt, or to taste

  • 6 oz feta cheese

1. Cook quinoa according to package directions. Chill completely.
2. Combine veggies & cilantro with quinoa in a large bowl.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, cumin and salt. Pour over quinoa, add feta and toss to coat.
4. Devour!

I could eat this salad nearly every day. I first heard of quinoa a few years ago, but never tried it till this summer. Quinoa is and ancient grain (well, technically a seed) eaten by the Incas. It is highly nutricious, gluten-free, high in fiber, and a complete protein. And have I mention it's delicious?

The seeds are naturally covered with saponins which are very bitter. Most packaged quinoa is pre-rinsed, but if you buy it in bulk you'll need to give it a good rinsing to get all that nasty stuff off. You can either put it in a fine mesh strainer-the quinoa seeds are very small-and run cold water over them while swishing it aroud, or place the quinoa in a large bowl, cover with water and let it sit for an hour or so. The water will become very cloudy. Carefully drain the water off and refill with clean water, drain, and repeat a few times till the water remains fairly clear. It's a bit of a pain, but it's better than havin inedible quinoa. Don't be turned off by the way it smells while it's cooking, it's a little stinky. It tastes way better than it smells. Very mild, slightly nutty.

Quinoa is a bit expensive. Buying it in bulk at a health food store will probably be your cheapest bet, but here it is actually cheapest at Costco, a 4 lb bag is only about $9.50, and it's the pre-rinsed kind.

Quinoa is really versatile. Add it to soup, or use it in pretty much any recipe that calls for rice. Make a basic salad like this but create your own dressing. Add some to a regular lettuce salad. Throw a little bit (cooked) into your muffin batter to boost the nutrition. Get creative, go crazy. It's some pretty good stuff.

No comments:

Post a Comment