Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is a fairly new grain to my table. But, boy, have I enjoyed mixing it with fresh ingredients this summer and producing all kinds of healthy dinner salads and side salads.
Today’s recipe is inspired by Mediterranean flavors: cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley and lots of crumbled feta. Who can resist? The nutty flavor of the cooked grain is a perfect accent and is delicious served cold or at room temperature, so picnic possibilities are endless.
If you haven’t tried this “new” ancient grain, don’t wait another minute. You’re going to love it!
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½ cup vegetable broth or stock
½ cup water (or an additional ½ cup of broth for a richer salad)
½ cup quinoa (purchase the rinsed kind)
1 cup cucumber, diced
1 cup fresh tomato, chopped
1 cup flatleaf parsley, finely chopped
1 small can (2.25 oz.) sliced black olives, drained
⅓ cup green onion, thinly sliced
⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese
⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest, optional
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¾ tsp. salt
¾ tsp. ground black pepper
Bring the broth and water to a boil; add the quinoa, cover, reduce heat to low and steam 15 to 20 minutes. Quinoa is done when light and fluffy and a small curly “thread” is unfurled from the grain.
While the quinoa is cooking, add cucumber, tomato (and fresh juices), parsley, olives, onion and cheese to medium bowl. Set aside.
Whisk together the dressing (lemon juice, zest, oil, salt and pepper) in another medium bowl and set aside.
Turn the cooked quinoa out onto a large plate and fluff with a fork for maximum exposure. Place in the refrigerator to cool, about 30 minutes. When grains are cool, combine with vegetables. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss.
Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. May be served chilled or at room temperature.
Serves 8 as a side dish; 4 as a main.
Each of 8 servings contains about 148 calories, 11 grams fat (2.3 grams saturated), 6 milligrams cholesterol, 4 grams protein, 9 grams carbohydrates, 1.5 grams dietary fiber, 381 milligrams sodium.