Summer Quinoa Salad

Description

This salad takes a bit of time to prepare because the Quinoa needs to be cooked ahead of time, so plan accordingly.  Quinoa is packed full of protein and fiber and makes an excellent grain selection!  Any of the vegetables or fruits can be substituted to reflect the produce currently in season or simply your different taste preferences.  If using fresh or dried fruits in place of veggies try using a sweeter homemade dressing!

Ingredients

¾ cup of DRY Quinoa, cooked according to package directions (remember that Quinoa cooks to approximately 3 times its dry volume.  If you are serving this salad to 4 people as a side, you will want ½ cup of cooked Quinoa per person which is 2 cups cooked.  This is equal to roughly ¾ cups dried!)

About 3-4 cups of any seasonal produce chopped into fine pieces (in our class we used tomato, red pepper, cucumber, and green onions)

Salt and pepper to taste.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Optional: Any type of Goat or Feta Cheese (In our class Dianne prepared this recipe using Macedonian feta purchased at the Covent Garden Market, however, you can leave this out if you would like)

Optional: Toasted Pine nuts (gently toast them in a dry frying pan over low heat. You will know they are toasted when they turn slightly brown and appear dry.  You can also smell them “toasting”)

 

Directions

  1. Cook the Quinoa according to package directions (In general, use a 2:1 ratio of water to Quinoa; if you prefer a grainer texture use less water, if you prefer a softer texture use slightly more)
  2. Drain any excess water from the Quinoa and place it in a large bowl.
  3. To have the Quinoa absorb the maximum amount of flavor, add your favourite homemade dressing now while the grain is warm (in class Dianne used the Greek-style dressing with oregano and balsamic vinegar as her choices).  This tip works well for potato, rice, pasta or even bean salads.  If you prefer, feel free to add the dressing once the Quinoa has cooled.
  4. Chop the produce that you will be using and add it to the bowl with the quinoa.
  5. If using pine nuts, add them to the bowl now.
  6. If you prefer a more melted texture of cheese (similar to what Dianne prepared) add the cheese to the salad now; if you prefer a crumbled texture (similar to a traditional Greek salad topping) add the cheese once the salad has cooled, just before serving.
  7. Add your salt and pepper to taste, toss, and serve!