Quinoa Salad – A Middle Eastern Dinner Salad

August 17th, 2011 / Comments 2

Quinoa is the seed from a plant related to beets, spinach and tumbleweed. Who knew? Tumbleweed makes me think of Gene Autry singing ‘… rolling along with the tumbling, tumbleweed’, but quinoa originated in the Andes Mountains where it has been an important food for more than six thousand years.

A gluten free, complete protein it was called the ‘mother of all grains’.

With all of this to recommend it, I decided to add it to my pantry. My first quinoa creation was a resounding failure – a mushy mixture that tasted like wet laundry, (Actually, I have never eaten wet or dry laundry, but that’s the best description I can come up with).

Clearly, it is important not to overcook it and to add flavor at each step of preparation.

My second try, a salad inspired by the fresh flavors of tabbouleh, was a great success with no resemblance to wet laundry. Here’s how I made it:

 

A Lemon Branch 011 Quinoa Salad   A Middle Eastern Dinner Salad

Quinoa Salad

I rinsed two cups of quinoa in cold water to get rid of the bitter coating before putting it into a heavy bottomed, shallow pan over medium high heat. Ten minutes of constant stirring and the seeds were light brown and aromatic.

Initially the quinoa stuck to the bottom of the pan, but when it was ready it began to dance around in the bottom of the pan, (perhaps inspired by the reputation of its tumble weed cousin).

With the pan off the heat I stirred in two cups of vegetable broth, then increased the heat, brought it to a boil,  reduced the heat, covered the pan and left it to simmer until al dente, about eighteen minutes. I drained the remaining liquid from the quinoa, and set it aside, covered for five minutes, before fluffing with a fork and transferring to a large bowl to cool. These steps resulted in a flavorful and non mushy base for the salad.

I added two cans of rinsed and drained beans, one soy and the other white kidney, the chopped leaves of a bunch of flat leaf parsley, half a cup of sliced scallions, a pint of halved cherry tomatoes and the zest of one large lemon.

For the dressing, I combined the juice of the lemon, a large tablespoon of grainy Dijon mustard, half a cup of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

Gently stirred together and served at room temperature, it was a crowd pleaser at a vegetarian dinner of three substantial salads.

notes: any canned beans will work, you may want to brighten the taste with the addition of a bit of wine vinegar, the parsley could be replaced with basil, purple onion instead of scallions, a minced chili pepper or a bit of cayenne pepper would add some heat. Add or subtract flavors to suit your palate.

Quinoa Salad – A Middle Eastern Dinner Salad
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Recipe type: Dinner Salad
Author: Carol Egbert
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 18 mins
Total time: 28 mins
Serves: 8
Vegetarian dinner salad that travels well.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can soy beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, rinsed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup sliced scallions
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Rinse quinoa in cold water to remove bitter coating.
  2. Put it into a heavy bottomed, shallow pan over medium high heat to toast for ten minutes, stirring constantly, until the seeds are light brown and aromatic.
  3. Remove pan from heat, stir in vegetable broth, return to burner, increase heat, bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover pan and simmer until al dente, about eighteen minutes.
  4. Drain remaining liquid from the quinoa, set it aside, covered for five minutes, before fluffing with a fork and transferring to a large bowl to cool.
  5. Add beans, the parsley, scallions, cherry tomatoes and lemon zest lemon.
  6. For the dressing, combined lemon juice, mustard, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Add dressing to quinoa/bean mixture, gently stir together and serve at room temperature.
Notes

notes: Any canned beans will work, you may want to brighten the taste with the addition of a bit of wine vinegar, the parsley could be replaced with basil, purple onion instead of scallions, a minced chili pepper or a bit of cayenne pepper would add some heat. Add or subtract flavors to suit your palate.

 

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