The ancient grain quinoa has an intriguing crunchy texture and is super tasty and healthy. Great for vegetarians and vegans due to its high protein content, it’s a healthy whole grain that is versatile in the kitchen. In this pilaf-like dish, you’ll encounter nutty, crunchy, sweet, and tart flavors in every bite.
Serve as a side dish or as a stuffing for peppers or baked squash. Add a green salad and you have a light meal. Leftovers travel well the next day. If you’ve ever tried quinoa and found it unpleasantly bitter, the soaking and rinsing step should take care of that problem.
Quinoa Salad with Dried Cranberries and Pumpkin Seeds
1 cup quinoa, soaked in several changes of water, rinsed well and drained
2 thinly sliced green onions
3/4 cup dried cranberries, or other local, dried fruit of your choice, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
4-5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
In a saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a boil. Add the quinoa, lower heat, cover and simmer until the quinoa is tender and moist, without excess water (about 30 minutes). You may open the lid occasionally to check its progress. If the quinoa is done, but there is still too much water, drain in a fine mesh sieve. Cool slightly.
While the quinoa cooks, whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil.
Place the cooled quinoa in a medium bowl with the onions, cranberries, pumpkin seeds and parsley. Add the dressing and toss to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately. The picture shown above features a little shredded parmesan as garnish, which could be nice, too.
Recipe copyright 2010 Vanessa Barrington
Don’t forget to go for organic and local ingredients whenever possible!