QUINOA, A MIGHTY FOOD, was first cultivated by the Inca’s over 6,000 years ago in South America and was given the nickname “The Mother Grain”. Because of its nutrient-dense profile (high in protein and several minerals), it was given to women while they were nursing. Quinoa is actually a seed of a leafy plant but substitutes well as a low allergen, non-gluten, whole grain. It makes a nice alternative to wheat or rice. Because of its mild flavor, it blends well with various vegetables, nuts, seeds or beans. It is great served warm, at room temperature or chilled.
Quinoa Spring Salad
1 c. quinoa
1 ¾ c. water
½ tsp. salt
¼ c. raw nuts or seeds (ex. pumpkin, sunflower, pecans, cashews)
¼ c. extra-virgin olive oil
¼ c. lemon juice
6 tbs. chopped fresh herbs
pinch of sea salt
1 heart of Romaine lettuce (washed with the stem slightly trimmed), or other mix greens
Rinse quinoa with warm water and drain. Place on dry skillet and toast evenly until grain releases a “nutty” aroma. Place in medium size pot with water and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until all water has evaporated.
Place nuts or seeds on dry skillet and toast over medium flame but moving constantly. Nuts should evenly brown, about 5-8 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.
Combine olive oil, lemon juice, fresh herbs and salt, mix well. Rinse and prepare vegetables (chop, dice, shred). When quinoa has cooled, combine with dressing, nuts or seeds and vegetables and toss. Start with about half the dressing and slowly increase until desired flavor is achieved. You may not use all the dressing. Place finished salad on a bed of romaine lettuce or other greens. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Makes: 4 servings
Preparation time: 30 minutes