I have to admit I tried quinoa for the first time just a few weeks ago. I know I’m behind the times. I’d heard a lot about it, but was a little weary about cooking it myself. Well, I finally did it, and I haven’t looked back since. This stuff is great…easy to cook and so versatile.
For those of you who are also a little clueless about quinoa (if there are any of you left out there) here are a few facts…
1.) Quinoa originally comes from South America, is pronounced kinwa, and is a species of goosefoot grown primarily for its edible seeds.
2.) It is a pseudocereal rather than a true, cereal, or grain. As a member of the chenopod family it is more closely related to spinach or beets.
3.) The nutrient composition is very good compared with common cereals. Quinoa grains contain good quantities of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and iron. It is gluten-free and has a high protein content (14% by mass).
The more you know. These and many more facts on quinoa can be found on good old Wikipedia.
All in all my first experience with quinoa was a positive one. The whole family loved this salad, especially little Arik. I was sort of worried that he would pick out the dried cranberries and only eat those, but he ended up finishing his whole portion and even asking for seconds. What more can one want…
Alright, now it’s your turn to give it a try. Hope your families enjoy it just as much!
- 1½ cups quinoa
- 3 cups water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup or 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- ¼ cup/60ml olive oil
- ¼ cup/60ml lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh italian parsley
- 2 scallions
- ¼ cup or 3 tablespoons dried cranberries
- ⅓ cup/100g crumbled feta cheese
- Put quinoa in a strainer or cheese cloth and wash well. Place in a large pot, add water and salt, bring to a boil, lower heat, and let simmer with lid on until all water is absorbed. (15 to 20 minutes) Don't stir the "grain" while it is cooking. Test for doneness by tilting the pan to one side, making sure all the water has been absorbed. Remove the lid and let rest 5 to 10 minutes.
- Dry-toast pine nuts in skillet until they begin to change color.
- Combine olive oil, lemon juice, mint, and parsley in a large bowl.
- Add scallions, cranberries, feta cheese, and toasted pine nuts and toss. Add cooked warm quinoa a little at a time.
- Toss well and serve at room temperature.