My sweet man, Alex had a ”manly” get together he was attending and needed me to make him a dish to take. We know how much men love their carbohydrates…heck, who doesn’t? Anyway, this dish needed to travel well and stay at room temperature for several hours without spoiling. So my Quinoa Salad with Cumin Vinaigrette was born!
Again, just looking at what you have and having fun with it. More than anything I want y’all to just spend more time in the kitchen and create because that’s when cooking will stop feeling like such drudgery. Well for some it will always feel like drudgery, I suppose. But, I do believe when people start to make the connection between preparing and eating real, nutrient-dense foods and how good it makes them feel then they will be inspired to get in the kitchen and cook! There really is a means to my madness when I give you all these recipes. :-)
One tip on cooking grains whose end product is a salad tossed in a vinaigrette: undercook your grains just a bit and spread out to cool right after they have cooked so they won’t continue to cook. So now when you put the vinaigrette on the “al dente’”grains they won’t get mushy right away because the acid in the vinaigrette will continue to “cook” the grains a bit.
Now, I use the term “grain” loosely because Quinoa is actually a seed. It is an ancient Incan “grain” that is very high in protein, like amaranth. I find it quite easy to digest and this is one of the first grains I introduce into my diet when I’ve been cleansing from all grains. Good stuff and easy as all get out to cook!
Here’s a video on “What Is Quinoa?” that I did last summer that will give you some good info on this nutrient-dense food!
The good news is that the men-folk loved this recipe so much they were eating it with corn chips since there were no utensils…oh those men…did I mention that men love carbohydrates?
What are you doing with Quinoa these days?
Quinoa Salad with Cumin Vinaigrette
2 cups quinoa
1 3/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3 cups finely chopped fresh veggies like carrots, red bell pepper, sweet onion, etc.
1 can black beans rinsed and dried
1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley or par-cel, great combo of parsley and celery flavor (love this stuff…got it from Rocky Glade Farm)
To Prepare the Quinoa:
Wash the quinoa really well in a bowl and drain in a fine mesh strainer. Place in sauce pan with water and salt and bring to a boil, be sure to “skim the scum” off of the top of the water and discard. Stir well, put lid on and turn heat to simmer and cook for 12-15 minutes until all water is evaporated. Immediately spread the quinoa out into a thin layer to cool on a large baking pan, stirring every 10 minutes or so until completely cooled down and seperated.
Meanwhile…make the Cumin Vinaigrette! (see below) Once quinoa is cooled, place in a big bowl, add in beans and veggies, mix well while it’s dry, then add in all the Cumin Vinaigrette and mix well again until the dressing is evenly distributed. Taste your food and see if you need to add more sea salt and pepper. Serve right away or it keeps in the fridge for about four days.
Cumin Vinaigrette (also great as a salad dressing)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup mirin*
1 3/4 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
In a medium bowl, whisk vinegar, mirin, sea salt, pepper and cumin together and then keep whisking while you slowly stream in the extra-virgin olive oil until the dressing is well combined. Another quick and easy way is to dump all the ingrediets into a pint jar, put lid on tight and shake, shake, shake…shake, shake, shake…shake your booty! Until it’s well mixed, for about one minute.
*About Mirin: It is a lovely, slightly & naturally sweet rice cooking wine. I buy the “Eden” brand. Do not buy Mirin with any added sugars or weird stuff. Ingredients should read: water, rice, koji (this is what turns the rice into wine through the fermentation process), sea salt. Good stuff!