Quinoa is one of my favorite Super Foods of 2012. I talked a great deal about quinoa this weekend at my nutrition/healthy eating seminar including how to pronounce it, purchase it and cook it. I had a lot of wonderful questions regarding this gluten-free grain. One serving of quinoa provides all 8 essential amino acids, and it is high in protein and fiber. It’s also a wonderful grain for those on a gluten-free diet, and it works wonderful for breakfast, a side, in soups and salads. I recommend buying the rinsed version to make your life even easier. I developed this recipe for Quinoa Salad with Almonds, Cranberries and Mint for Thanksgiving for Honeysuckle White and Shady Brook Farms Turkey. It makes a great side dish or salad, and my kids absolutely loved it. Add grilled chicken or shrimp if you wish for a main dish salad.
Quinoa Salad with Almonds, Cranberries and Mint
2 cups water
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained well*
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1-1/2 cups diced cucumber
1/3 cup diced radishes
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped unsalted almonds, toasted
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
To simplify things, purchase pre-rinsed quinoa and omit Step 1 below on rinsing and draining.
1. Place quinoa in a fine sieve and place sieve in a large bowl. Rinse quinoa and drain well.
2. Combine water, quinoa and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool at least 30 minutes.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together white balsamic vinegar, lime juice, olive oil, Dijon mustard, Italian seasoning and pepper; set aside.
4. Combine quinoa, cucumber, radishes, onion, almonds, cranberries and mint. Pour dressing over quinoa mixture, tossing gently. Serve immediately or chill, if desired.