Vegetable and Pine Nut-studded Quinoa Salad

24 Jul

Here’s a salad high in protein and fibre that requires very little preparation or heat-generation in your summer kitchen. Make it early in the day, refrigerate until dinner time to allow the flavours to meld. It’s also my first attempt at creating a quinoa recipe.

Craving a naughty hot dog or two on the Q? Compensate with this glorious quinoa salad on the side.

Craving a naughty hot dog or two on the Q? Compensate with this glorious quinoa salad on the side.

I must make a confession. I adore hot dogs on the grill! To assuage my guilt of a supper built around nutrition-suspicious wieners, I felt compelled to find a nutritious side dish. This quinoa salad was my solution to balance out my guilty pleasure.

I love the bright colours of the dish and it offers up plenty of crunch. It works as a side dish as well as a lunch meal. In subsequent days, you may find it necessary to add some extra vinaigrette or just some more oil to re-moisten the quinoa.

Colourful ingredients --- asparagus, carrots, onion, red pepper, currants and pine nuts and quinoa.

Colourful ingredients — asparagus, carrots, onion, red pepper, currants and pine nuts and quinoa.

VEGETABLE AND PINE NUT-STUDDED QUINOA SALAD             Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup [115 g]                                  quinoa, I used half a PC Organics 225 g package
  • 2 cups [500 mL]                               water
  • 3 Tbsp [45 mL]                                 finely chopped cooking onion
  • 1/2 large                                             red sweet bell pepper, finely diced
  • 6 spears                                              asparagus
  • 1/2 cup  [125 mL]                             shredded carrot, or more to taste
  • 1 1/2 stalks                                         celery, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup [62.5 mL]                            pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup [75 mL]                                dried currants
  • 2 Tbsp [30 mL]                                 apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp [30 mL]                                 extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp [15 – 30 mL]                   Thai green curry paste
  • to taste                                                salt and pepper
  • 8 – 10                                                   fresh basil leaves
  • 2 – 3 sprigs                                         parsley

Instructions:

1.     Cook the quinoa according to manufacturer’s directions. For the PC Organic quinoa, bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan with a lid. Add the raw grain, stir, cover and reduce heat to Low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, allow the pan to sit, covered for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and allow to cool while you make the rest of the salad.

2.     Meanwhile, snap the woody ends off the asparagus spears. Add to a pan of boiling water and cook just until the asparagus turns bright green and a fork can pierce the thickest spear, about 5 minutes. Drain and immediately run under cold water to stop the cooking. Allow cooled asparagus to drain, then pat dry and cut into bite-sized pieces.

3.     In a small, non-stick fry pan over Medium-Low heat add the pine nuts and toast, stirring and shaking occasionally, until they are lightly browned and fragrant. Watch the pan so as not to burn. This can take 5 – 10 minutes depending upon your range and pan. Remove from pan and allow pine nuts to cool.

Cooked quinoa, plumped currants, toasted pine nuts and blanched asparagus.

Cooked quinoa, plumped currants, toasted pine nuts and blanched asparagus.

4.     Plump the currants by pouring boiling water over them in a heat proof measuring cup or bowl. Allow them to sit in the hot water for 10 minutes and then drain.

5.     In a large bowl, add the shredded carrots, diced pepper, chopped onion and diced celery to the bowl.

6.     For the vinaigrette, whisk together EVOO, green curry paste and cider vinegar.

7.     When the cooked quinoa, asparagus, currants and pine nuts have cooled, add to the bowl with the raw vegetables. Stir together well. Using scissors, finely cut basil and parsley leaves into the bowl.

8.     Pour in the vinaigrette and stir well throughout the salad ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste. This was a very light dressing in both quantity and flavour. If you like more dressing or a spicier flavour adjust quantities and amount of curry paste accordingly.

A treat for the eyes and a power house of nutrition.

A treat for the eyes and a power house of nutrition.

For a work lunch, you could line the bottom of your sandwich container with baby spinach leaves and spoon the quinoa salad overtop. If extra dressing is desired, carry some in another small container.

What’s your favourite way to enjoy with quinoa?

 

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Vegetable and Pine Nut-studded Quinoa Salad”

  1. Gillian Wallace July 24, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

    This looks fab. Can’t wait to try it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: