Thursday, September 1, 2011

Simple Quinoa Salad

If you haven't yet discovered the wonders of quinoa, I am about to give you a delicious recipe for you to put into your side dish repertoire.

Quinoa (pronounced "keen-wah") is a great source of protein with a slightly crunchy texture. It is available now in most grocery stores and of course health food stores as well. Make sure you always rinse it before cooking and strain it in a fine mesh sieve. What I find is that it's very adaptable to whatever ingredients you want to mix in with it. You can do something as simple as adding a little butter and fresh herbs or really get creative with combinations of flavors and ingredients. Any way you make it, you will start to wonder what you did without it! Here is the recipe:

 Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Pesto and Sun-dried Tomatoes

1 cup white quinoa, rinsed well
2 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 white or yellow onion, diced small 
1 clove garlic, minced
2 small carrots, diced
1/2 red or orange pepper, diced
6 stalks of asparagus, sliced in 1/4 discs
1/2 of a zucchini, diced
4-6 sundried tomatoes, sliced thin
olive oil for sauteing
2 tablespoons fresh pesto sauce (can be store bought!)
1/4 fresh parsley, chopped
handful of walnuts, or pine nuts, toasted
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Cook quinoa in salted water until tender.  This can be anywhere from 15-20 minutes depending. Drain off any excess liquid and set aside to cool.
Next, saute onion in a little olive oil until soft, add the the carrots and saute for 5 minutes. Add remaining vegetables, and cook until soft but not mushy. Cool.

Transfer the quinoa to a bowl. Add the vegetables, pesto, parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Gently fold to incorporate all ingredients. Top with toasted nuts. This makes enough for 4 healthy servings.

 It's funny because my sister and I were having a conversation about quinoa salads just the other night so she just sent me a recipe she tried and liked. I am going to make her version next and maybe I'll post it here! Hope it's good MB! :) I am sure it is!

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