Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa [KEEN-wah] is a seed that originated in the Andean region of South America, where it has been consumed for 6,000 years. It's considered a complete protein because it contains all 8 essential amino acids. It's higher in unsaturated fats and lower in carbohydrates than most grains and provides a rich and balanced source of vital nutrients! (Food Lover's Companion 4th Edition)



Ingredients:
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth or water
  • 1/2 medium cucumber diced 
  • 1/2 can of unsalted corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 can of low sodium or unsalted black beans, drained and rinsed (you can cook your own too of course)
  • 2 stalks of green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of carrots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup of red, yellow, orange bell peppers, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 T fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 T of red wine vinegar (adjust to taste)
  • 1 T of sesame oil (adjust to taste)
  • 1/4 cup of dried cranberries (optional)
  • garlic salt to taste (maybe 1/4 teaspoon at most?)
The vegetables can be whatever you prefer. I like to pick a bunch of colors of vegetables for the beautiful bouquet that results :o)

1. Stir quinoa in a small saucepan on medium heat and wait for a toasted smell and popping noises (should take a few minutes, maybe 5-10? I usually start chopping my veggies while I wait for them to toast)

2. When you hear the quinoa start to pop, pour in 2 cups of broth or water, return to boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until all the broth is absorbed and you can see the outside ring of the quinoa somewhat separated from the grain.

3. Once broth is all absorbed, take pot off the burner and let it cool while you finish preparing the rest of your veggies in a big bowl.

4. Add the red wine vinegar, sesame oil, and garlic salt into the bowl of veggies. Mix well.

5. Pour the cooled quinoa into the bowl of veggies. Mix well. Cover and store in fridge until everything has cooled. You can eat this dish warm as well but it's great in the summer as a cold side dish! Add the dried cranberries right before serving.



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