Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ultimate Summer Quinoa Salad

Sorry for the lack of recipes of late. I fell victim to the whooping cough epidemic sweeping the Bay area and, as always, being sick affected my appetite rather strangely. Of course, all I wanted was the stuff you're supposed to avoid when you have a cough, and I didn't think my readers would much enjoy pictures of boring wild rice, bread, gravy, refried beans, popcorn, and cheese. Yes, all the starches and dairy I was definitely not supposed to eat. So sue me. Anywho, my normal appetite has finally begun to return. This morning I got it in my head that I just had to make this salad from items crying out to me from my cupboard and fridge. I am so glad I did, because this just might be the best quinoa salad I've ever had, if I do say so myself. Certainly the best I've ever made. I present you with yet another whole grain summer salad. I'm back, baby!

1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 cup snap peas, chopped
1 cob corn, grilled*/cooked, kernels removed
1 small (8.75oz.) can garbanzo beans, drained

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 packet (a little less than 1/2 teaspoon) stevia sweetener
1-2 tsp. fresh ground sea salt, more or less to taste
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper, more or less to taste
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 Tbspn. garlic infused olive oil**

1. Toast quinoa in a small dry saucepan over medium heat, stirring often for about 5 minutes until crackly and aromatic - the scent reminds me of stove-popped popcorn. Rinse thoroughly in a mesh collander. Return quinoa to pot and add water. Bring to a simmer; reduce heat and cover. Cook until quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Drain excess water, if any. Cool in fridge while you prepare the rest of the salad.

2. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine all dressing ingredients except oil. Mix until salt has dissolved. Add oil and mix well.

3. Combine vegetables and quinoa in a large bowl. Pour dressing over salad and toss until well mixed. Will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge.

Nutrition info: 
As an entree, serves 2.
Calories: 482. Total fat: 17.8g, sat. fat. 2.2g. Carb: 70.4g, fiber: 9.3, sugars: 11.5g. Protein: 12.8g.
As a side, serves 4.
Calories: 241. Total fat: 8.9g, sat. fat. 1.1g. Carb: 35.2g, fiber: 4.7g, sugars: 5.8g. Protein: 6.4g.

*To grill corn on your George Foreman, first remove leaves and silk from the cob. If you want the cob cut in half, do it now. Cutting it in half gives you a flat edge to work with if cutting off the kernels after cooking. Brine corn in water mixed with salt and sugar for 10-30 minutes. Preheat grill to 375. Close cobs in grill perpendicular to grooves. Cook for 30 minutes, turning partway around every ten so they blacken evenly.

**To infuse olive oil with garlic, heat 1/2 cup of olive oil in a small pan until just bubbling. Add 4-5 medium cloves of sliced garlic. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool and transfer to container. Keeps in fridge up to one week.

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