The weather has warmed up and I have been spending a lot of time outside; which is good for my garden, but not so great for my blog 😉 Sorry it has been a while.
This morning I want to share with you a go-to recipe I have been making for years. It’s easy and versatile and usually a crowd-pleaser! Some of you may not like quiñoa-or even know what it is. Here’s the lowdown: It’s a SEED, even though we treat it like a grain. Quinoa (pronounced Keen-Wah) is native to Bolivia and is a relative of Swiss chard, spinach, beets and the tumbleweed (My Amarillo peeps, it seems as though this grain is closer to your roots than you thought!) Check out the stats on this nutritional powerhouse: ONE CUP contains 8g of protein, 5g of fiber, 15% DV iron, 30% DV magnesium, 19% DV folate and heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids. Quiñoa is also a complete protein, which means it provides all nine essential amino acids necessary for good health.
I LOVE quiñoa. It’s kind of like rice in the respect that you cook it the same way and can sub it for rice in many recipes. Rinse it well before cooking to get rid of the sometimes bitter flavor. Because it is a seed, it can have a tiny crunch to it, which adds dimension to a dish. For cooking, the ratio is 1 cup of uncooked quiñoa to 2 cups of liquid. Bring quiñoa and liquid to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed (15 to 20 minutes). Fluff with a fork.
I recently took this salad to a potluck (you know me and potlucks!). My friend’s husband tried it and liked it. She looked at him and said, “You’ve never like it when I make it at home.” He responded with, “Well, you’ve never made a salad with it like this.” Another friend won over with quiñoa. Hooray!
This salad has been adapted from a recipe in Jay Solomon’s book, “Vegetarian Rice Cuisine.” My tattered and ripped copy still lovingly gets used on a regular basis:
Here’s what you’ll need:
4 TBS olive oil
2 TBS vinegar (rice, apple cider, red wine)
1 TBS dijon/spicy mustard
2 TBS chopped fresh parsley (or 1 TBS dried, although fresh is WAY better!)
2-3 cloves of crushed garlic (garlic powder will do in a pinch)
1/4 tsp sea salt
3 Cups of cooked quiñoa
10-ish Pepperoncinis, sliced (found near pickles at your grocery store)
1 pkg of mini tomatoes, sliced in half
3 carrots, shredded
1 14 oz can of cooked chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/4-1/2 Cup shredded Swiss cheese, crumbled feta (my favorite choice) or fresh Mozzerella, sliced (optional)
Place quiñoa (see above for cooking directions, OR, cook in your rice cooker on the “white rice” setting) and all of your chopped/shredded ingredients in a bowl. For the dressing: Whisk together the oil, vinegar, garlic, salt ( I also like to add red pepper flakes) and mustard. Drizzle dressing over everything and mix well. Chill until you’re ready to serve. I think this is great cold or room temperature.