2014-06-06 / Columns

Cooking on Purpose

Quinoa makes for some hearty salads
By Connie Wendell
Special to the Leader

Quinoa is a wonderful, versatile whole grain and I have used it repeatedly in recipes. I’ve just discovered it is fabulous in a salad. I’ve included some of my favorites, however, if you want to substitute barley, farrow, brown rice, etc. for the quinoa, these salads will all be delicious with that substitution.

I find it is all I need for a quick, hearty, healthy meal.

Greek quinoa and avocados

½ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained; 1 cup water; 2 roma tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped; ½ cup shredded fresh spinach; 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion; 2 tablespoons lemon juice; 2 tablespoons olive oil; salt and pepper to taste; spinach leaves; 2 ripe avocados, pitted , peeled and sliced; and 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese.

In a small saucepan, combine quinoa and water. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

Place quinoa in a medium bowl. Add tomato, shredded spinach and onion to quinoa; stir to combine. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper. Add to quinoa mixture and toss to coat.

Place additional spinach leaves on four salad plates. Arrange avocado slices on top of spinach leaves. Divide quinoa mixture evenly over avocado slices. Sprinkle each serving with some of the feta.

Serves four.

Tips: Brush avocado slices with lemon juice to keep them from browning.

Rinse quinoa thoroughly before cooking to remove a bitter substance called saponin that coats the seeds.

Quinoa toss with chickpeas and herbs

1 cup quinoa; 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth; 2 ears fresh corn or 1 cup frozen corn, thawed; 1(15 ounce) can chickpeas; ½ cup crumbled feta; ¼ cup chopped onion; 3 tablespoons snipped fresh basil; 2 tablespoons snipped fresh Italian parsley; ¼ cup olive oil; 2 tablespoons lemon juice; 1 cup diced, cooked beets; and romaine leaves.

Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh sieve under cold running water; drain. In saucepan bring broth to boiling. Add quinoa. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered for 15 minutes or until broth is absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Cut the corn from the cobs. Rinse and drain the chickpeas. In bowl, combine quinoa, corn, chickpeas, cheese, onion and herbs. For dressing, in bowl whisk together oil, lemon juice, ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add to quinoa mixture and toss to coat.

Cover and let stand at least one hour. Or cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Bring to room temperature before serving. Stir in beets just before serving. Serve in bowls lined with romaine leaves.

Makes eight (1 cup) servings.

Red quinoa salad with raspberries

1 cup red quinoa, rinsed and drained; 1 1/3 cup fresh raspberries; 2 tablespoons chopped shallots; 1 tablespoon sugar; ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper; ¼ cup white wine vinegar; 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil; 4 cups torn red leaf lettuce; 4 large red radishes, sliced; ½ cup roasted pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped; and ½ cup fresh cilantro.

In small saucepan bring 1½ cups of water to boiling. Add quinoa; return to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover tightly. Simmer about 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and cool to room temperature.

For dressing, in the bowl of a food processor combine 1/3 cup of the raspberries, shallots, sugar, salt and pepper. Cover and process until pureed. Scrape down sides. Add vinegar; process until combined. With food processor running, slowly add oil in a thin steady stream (dressing will thicken as oil is added).

In a large bowl gently combine cooked quinoa, lettuce and radishes. Drizzle dressing over salad; toss gently to mix. Transfer quinoa mixture to a serving dish. Top with remaining raspberries, pistachios and cilantro.

Enjoy eating healthier. Until next time, keep Cooking on Purpose.

Connie Wendell can be reached at conniewendell27@gmail.com.

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