Recipe: Colorful Quinoa Salad

This vegetarian recipe is an excellent introduction to The Mother Seed, otherwise known as quinoa. If you are unfamiliar with quinoa, you will wonder why it took you so long to give it a try.

This salad is best served at room temperature, and will keep for 2 or 3 days in the refrigerator. If you are not a fan of pistachio nuts you can substitute any nut or seed you prefer – hazelnuts, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), roasted walnuts or pecans, sunflower seeds, etc. It’s entirely up to your taste buds.

Colorful Quinoa Salad

½ cup roasted, salted pistachio nutmeats (not the dyed red kind)
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Juice and grated peel of one lemon
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons dried basil or marjoram
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup finely diced red onion
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved lengthwise
1 crisp red-skinned apple, cored and diced
2 cups red cabbage, finely shredded
8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

Rinse the quinoa thoroughly in a fine mesh strainer and let drain. In a medium saucepan bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the rinsed and drained quinoa to the boiling water, cover, and reduce heat to low or medium-low. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and the white ring is visible around the quinoa grains. Empty back into the mesh strainer to drain off any excess water that might remain, and fluff with a fork. Set it aside over a large bowl to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, roughly chop the pistachio nutmeats. In another large bowl, combine the extra virgin olive oil, sherry vinegar, lemon juice and zest, and salt. Whisk them together and then stir in the parsley, basil, garlic, and red onion. Add the kalamata olives, diced apple, red cabbage, and feta cheese crumbles. Stir gently to coat.

When the quinoa has cooled to room temperature, add it in increments to the mixture in the bowl, folding over repeatedly until all the ingredients are combined. Adjust the seasonings if necessary, and serve immediately.

Yield: 4-6 servings

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