Sunday, April 11, 2010

Quinoa Salad with Dried Fruit and Nuts

Lately, quinoa has become a very "trendy" addition to many meals, soups, and salads. The trend is not unfounded since quinoa is actually very healthy. It is a complete protein, so for vegetarians and vegans, it's a great source of protein, and for the rest of us, it is very filling and has a pleasant, nutty taste.  This salad from FineCooking (via YumSugar) is very refreshing and filling. It is easy to make, and you won't feel as guilty eating this as you will if you make the Nanaimo Bars too!

Quinoa Salad with Dried Fruit and Nuts

3 Tbs. cranberries
2 Tbs. dried apricots, thinly sliced
1 cup red or white quinoa, rinsed well
Kosher salt
1 large lemon
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. sweet paprika
2 medium firm-ripe avocados (6 to 7 oz. each), pitted, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 medium scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
2 to 3 Tbs. coarsely chopped toasted almonds
Freshly ground black pepper
1.       In a medium bowl, soak the cranberries and apricots in hot water for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2.       In a 2-quart saucepan, bring 2 cups water, the quinoa, and 1/2 tsp. salt to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is translucent and tender, 10 to 15 minutes. (The outer germ rings of the grain will remain chewy and white. Some germ rings may separate from the grain and will look like white squiggles.) Immediately fluff the quinoa with a fork and turn it out onto a baking sheet to cool to room temperature.
3.       Finely grate the zest from the lemon and then squeeze 1 Tbs. juice. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon zest and juice with the olive oil, coriander, cumin, paprika, and 1/4 tsp. salt. In a large bowl, toss the vinaigrette with the quinoa, cranberries, apricots, avocado, scallions, and almonds. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
Serves 4.

Notes: I was surprised how good this actually was, it will definitely become something I make often!

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