It’s a hot summer day and I’m not in the mood to cook. I was inspired by my sister-in-law Kelly this past weekend when she turned up to a family event with a rockin’ quinoa salad. It was fantastic, and when I asked her for the recipe, she said, “Oh, I just cooked some quinoa, added some beans and veggies, and added some olive oil and vinegar.” She made it sound so easy and it was so yummy that I just had to try it, and tonight is the night!
So what is quinoa and how the heck do you pronounce it? Quinoa is a protein-rich seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture and a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked. It is a nutritional powerhouse not only for it’s complete set of amino acids (protein) but for its dietary fiber, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron. It’s pronounced “keen-wah” so don’t go around trying to say it any other way.
Here’s my version:
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup quinoa – rinsed thoroughly. (Note, you will need a very fine strainer to rinse these little buggers – they are tiny!)
- Black or white beans, either canned and rinsed or precooked (I had some black beans left over from last night, so I threw them in!)
- 1/4 cup cucumber, chopped
- 15 cherry tomatoes, chopped (we have a bunch from our garden – yay!)
- Handful of chopped basil or cilantro or both (also from our garden – gotta love it)
- 2 T Olive oil (more to taste)
- 2 T Balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place quinoa and water in a 1-½ quart saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until all the water is absorbed (about 15 minutes).
- You will know that the quinoa is done when all the grains have turned from white to transparent, and the spiral-like germ has separated.
- Let cool and separate with a fork really well. And add in remaining ingredients to taste.
Use up your fridge of veggies – I did. Some great additions would be avocado, corn, onions, chives, dried fruit, mangos, nuts, seeds, etc. Go crazy!
I made this about an hour ahead of time to let the flavors mix However, if you don’t have time to do that then just dive in.
Rating: A. A yummy summer meal with some sauteed greens on the side. Light, yet filling and nourishing.