Have you tried quinoa yet? If you haven’t, this is the recipe for you. Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wa”) is an ancient grain from the Peruvian Andes region. Technically, quinoa is a seed, not a grain, but is commonly referred to as a grain.
Quinoa is very high in protein, making it an excellent choice for vegetarians and vegans. It is also nutrient dense. It contains iron, fiber, magnesium, potassium, amino acids and other vitamins and minerals.
The key to making quinoa taste good is to make sure there is enough flavor infused into the grain. On its own, quinoa is bland. Actually, that is an understatement. But if you make sure to get flavors in or around the grain, it can be delicious.
Quinoa is cooked almost exactly like rice. When it is cooked the germ of the seed becomes visible, like a small white string around the grain.
Because I was making a salad, I poured a strong vinaigrette over the quinoa right after cooking it, then let it cool. Once it is cool, you can add chopped vegetables, beans, herbs or fruits. I made my salad a complete protein by adding chickpeas and black beans, making it an ideal main dish salad.
To make the vinaigrette I used another of the seasoned honey vinegars sent to me recently by Honey Ridge Farms. The Sundried Tomato and Tarragon Honey Vinegar is perfect for vegetables and salads. Although the vinegar already has an incredible flavor, I added some herbs and spice to really make a bold vinaigrette.
I served the quinoa on a bed of Organic Rainbow Kale Salad from Cut ‘n’ Clean greens, which added another healthy and delicious dimension to this salad. But you can use any kind of salad greens, such as arugula, spinach, spring mix, or whatever is your favorite.
- 2 cups Tri-Color or regular quinoa
- 1/2 cup Sundried Tomato and Tarragon Honey Vinegar
- 2 tablespoons shallot, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon yellow or Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 (14 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (14 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 6-8 cups salad greens
In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, shallot, thyme, mustard, chipotle pepper and salt. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking, until the vinaigrette is slightly thickened.
When the quinoa is done, place it into a large bowl. Pour the vinaigrette over the quinoa and mix well. Let the quinoa cool to room temperature.
When the quinoa has cooled, gently stir in the black beans and chickpeas.
Place the salad greens onto a large serving platter. Spoon the quinoa salad over the greens. Serve immediately or cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to eat.
Prep time: 20 mins Cook time: 20 mins Total time: 1 hour Yield: 8 cups