Justified & Ancient Grains: Quinoa Salad

Here's an easy quinoa thing I invented.

2 cups water
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
juice of 1 lemon
olive oil
kalamata olives, stoned (I mean take the pits out)
1 T capers (or more if you love capers)
handful of parsley, chopped
1 small can great northern beans
1 red onion, chopped fine
1 red pepper (either a fresh one or pre-roasted type)
oil & vinegar dressing (homemade or commercial)

Boil the water in a saucepan and add quinoa. Cover, turn the heat down to medium (or whatever is a good simmer heat on your stove) and cook for 20 minutes. Check for doneness (all water should be absorbed) and cook a bit more if needed. Once quinoa is done, pour the lemon juice over it while still hot, and stir in some olive oil. Let cool.

Prepare the rest of the ingredients by combining the olives, capers, parsley, beans and onion in a large bowl. If you are using pre-roasted red pepper, slice it up and add that too (pimentos will also do). If you're starting with a fresh pepper, roast it up first. I like to do this by cutting the pepper in half and coring it, then sticking it in the toaster oven at about 400˚ until the skin starts to really blacken and even puff up a bit. (May take about 20 minutes, may also need to crank the heat.) Once the pepper is looking roasted, pop the pieces in a brown paper bag for 5 minutes while it cools. (There is some kitchen wisdom that this will make it easier to peel.) Then, carefully scrape the skin from the flesh with a knife. Do not yield to the temptation to rinse the burnt pieces of skin off the pepper, as you will also be washing away flavor. Just take your time and scrape everything off. Then chop & add to the bowl.

Finally, dump the cooled quinoa in the bowl and mix everything together. Season the salad with your favorite combo of oil & vinegar dressing. Add salt & pepper to taste. This is a refreshing summer side-dish, an easy potluck choice, or a nice pre-made lunch to take to work.

Optional: If you'll be eating this soon, adding some chopped cucumber can also be yummy. (But after a day or two the cucumber will begin to deliquesce in a disturbing way, so don't wait to consume!)

No comments: