Today I picked up some super ripe peaches and fresh basil to use as ingredients in a quinoa salad. We're going to a Geography Department potluck tonight, and this will be a nice, refreshing side dish.
If you've never made quinoa (KEEN-wah), don't fret! It's easy, like making couscous. It's like a grain, though it's actually a seed, and it's very nutritious! It's a complete protein, gluten-free, and cholesterol-free. It fills you up without making you feel FULL. You know the feeling.
You can find quinoa in the bulk foods section of most grocery stores or probably with the other grains like rice.
So, without further ado:
QUINOA SALAD with STONE FRUIT and BASIL*Serves 6
"Cherries, plums, and other stone fruit all work well, but you can also use apples or pears if you're making it later in the season."
1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
6 Tbs. olive oil, divided
4 Tbs. fresh lime juice, divided
1 bunch fresh basil
2 cups halved fresh cherries or sliced plums, nectarines, or apricots
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced (1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (canned works)
2 large shallots, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup sliced almonds or pine nuts
1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1. Bring 3 cups water to a boil in pot over medium-high heat. Stir in quinoa. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 15 minutes, or until all liquid has been absorbed (don't let it get too dry, though).
2. Remove from heat and cool, covered, in pot (I actually take the cover off and stir it occasionally so it cools faster. Even so, it takes at least 30 minutes to cool, so plan accordingly. While it cools I chop all the fruits and veggies.)
Once cool, transfer quinoa to serving bowl and toss with 3 Tbs. olive oil and 2 Tbs. lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Lay 5 or 6 basil leaves flat on top of one another on cutting board. Roll tightly into cylinder, then slice into thin strips. Repeat with remaining leaves.
4. Add basil, cherries (or other fruit), cucumber, chickpeas, shallots, and almonds to quinoa mixture; toss to combine. Chill 30 minutes to allow flavors to develop.
5. Meanwhile whisk together yogurt, remaining 3 Tbs. olive oil, and remaining 2 Tbs. lime juice in small bowl (just FYI, I usually double this recipe because I like the dressing!). Serve salad with yogurt dressing on side.
PER SERVING: 419 CAL; 12 G PROT; 19 G TOTAL FAT (3G SAT FAT); 51 G CARB; 1 MG CHOL; 499 MG SOD; 8 G FIBER; 10 G SUGARS
*This recipe originally came from a magazine, though I can't remember which one now. I just have the cut-out in my collection of favorite recipes.
In the final product picture you can see the grains of quinoa mixed in:
This salad can be a hearty side or even a main course for lunch (I've been eating it all week, and it holds me over until dinner). It can be made with any kind of stone fruit. Cherries are delicious in it, but in the absence of cherries this last week I used a peach, a nectarine, and a plum, and that was tasty, too.
So I hope you give quinoa a try! Also, I hope you visit your local farmer's market to pick up some fresh stone fruit (and tomatoes - oh, the tomatoes are to die for right now). I'll post more pictures of our Oxford Farmer's Market next weekend. Until then, try some quinoa!