Saturday, February 6, 2010

Quinoa Salad Bowl

Husband-Tested Recipe from Alice's Kitchen

After presenting the quinoa cooking demonstration at Lost River Market & Deli to a crowd of over 60, I've become more of a fan of quinoa (pronounced "keen wah.") Several times a week, I fix myself Alice's A+ Salad for lunch, but last week, I began adding quinoa to my lunch salad. It passed the husband test with flying colors because with the addition of quinoa and black beans, it made for a very tasty, filling meal. If you are making efforts to improve your life with nutritional meals without sacrificing flavor, give this salad a go. You can make the quinoa and the salad dressing in advance. Store the quinoa in the fridge and scoop out what you need for either this salad or for Quinoa Breakfast . Store the dressing in a jar with a lid on the counter for a few days. You'll have enough dressing for 2-3 big salads and enough quinoa for several salads and/or breakfasts.

Prepare the A+ Salad Dressing and Basic Quinoa recipes in advance. (See recipes below) Set aside.

In a large bowl, add 1 large bunch of baby spinach or baby lettuce (washed & spun dry); 1 large red bell pepper; 1-2 carrots, scrubbed and sliced; 5 or 6 mushrooms, sliced; 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed; 1 avocado, cubed (add this at the last minute); scant 1/4 cup cheese (blue cheese, feta cheese or goat cheese) crumbled. (For a vegan version, leave out the cheese.)

Add ½ cup to 1 cup of cooked Basic Quinoa. Drizzle the salad with a bit of the A+ Salad Dressing, toss and serve. (You could also toss the quinoa with a little dressing first before adding it to the salad.)

A+ Salad Dressing:
1-2 fresh lemons
1-2 cloves fresh garlic, minced (optional)
extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

In a pint mason jar, squeeze the juice from 1-2 lemons (about 1/4 cup juice). Add the minced garlic, if using. Add about 3/4 cups extra virgin olive oil. Add salt & freshly ground pepper to taste. (I use a "healthy pinch" of both.) Screw on the lid. (I use those handy reusable plastic lids made just for mason jars.) Shake the jar vigorously until all the ingredients are blended well. Drizzle just enough of the dressing over the salad to gently coat the leaves. This recipe usually makes enough for 3 large salads.) Store the jar on the counter for up to two days.

Basic Quinoa Recipe: (Makes 3 cups)
2 cups water (Vegetable or chicken broth may be used to boost the flavor. If you are some or all of the quinoa for breakfast, use water.)
1 cup quinoa

Rinse the quinoa well and drain. Place quinoa and water in a 1½ quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 12 to 15 minutes or until almost or all of the water is absorbed. As quinoa cooks, the germ is released from the exterior of the grain and forms a tiny spiral. You will know that the quinoa is done when all of the grains have turned from white to translucent and the spiral-like germ has separated. Drain off any excess water and then fluff with a fork.

Other great healthy salad additions or substitutions:
1 cup asparagus or green beans or sugar snap peas or zucchini slices
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 cup Edamame, chickpeas, kidney beans, or cannelloni beans

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That is really neat to do a cooking demo. Sounds like you had a good crowd. Congrats. With all these recipes you have me wanting to try quinoa. Sounds like there are a lot of uses for it in cooking. Beth