Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Red Quinoa Salad

Quinoa (pronounced "keen-wah") is a grain that is very rich in protein and amino acids.  The taste and texture is similar to a nuttier couscous.  I tossed together a vegetarian quinoa salad that was both refreshing and surprisingly satisfying.  The quinoa packaging instructions say to cook it with  1 part quinoa with 3 parts water.  Some of my friends who are more familiar with this grain also recommend that method, similar to cooking white rice.  I have not been successful with that method.  My quinoa never turned out very fluffy that way.  I recently bought a new cookbook which included instructions on steaming quinoa.  It was genius. My quinoa turned out light and fluffy.

Red Quinoa Salad
1 cup red quinoa
2 cups water
3 tsp salt
balsamic vinegar
olive oil
3 tbsp pine nuts
3 tbsp crumbled feta cheese
3 tbsp dried cranberries
baby spinach and arugula mix
Rinse quinoa in a fine sieve.  Bring water to boil.  Add quinoa and boil for 10 minutes.  Drain quinoa into a fine sieve.  Fill pot up with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil.  Place sieve with quinoa over the pot of boiling water.  The water should not touch the quinoa.  Adjust water level accordingly.  Place lid over quinoa.  Steam for 15 minutes.  Stirring every 5 minutes for even steaming.  Check water level constantly and add more boiling water as needed.
Let quinoa cool.  Toss with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Mix in pine nuts, feta and cranberries.  Serve chilled over spinach and arugula.

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