Thursday, June 23, 2011

Stroh's Quinoa Salad Recipe - Inspired By: "It's Gettin' Real In The Whole Foods Parking Lot"

With the summer home garden starting to ramp up, and seasonal fresh produce all over the place, what better time to go over a few salads that use loads of crisp chopped raw vegetables and wholesome grains and legumes than right now.
I completely understand and sympathize with you if there's any skepticism on this recipe, and possibly similar recipes to follow. A heavy mixture of raw veggies and grains can be a tough one to pass over on people at first. The thought of eating a big pile of grain like Quinoa or Black Eyed Peas just isn't that appetizing. I get it. I really do.  But I urge you to try it.
There are several benefits to adding a recipe like this to your bag of tricks. The original intent of this Blog was to help people start to grab a hold of some organic ingredients at a reasonable price and work them into their daily routine. Subsequently, working dishes like this into your daily routine will bring your food budget waaaaaaay down, and can be a great way to use up those random veggies in the fridge for something other than a science experiment.
Organic Grains and Legumes are really, really inexpensive and about as easy as pasta to cook. They hold in your dry storage area or cupboard for months on end in sealed (keeps bugs out) containers. They are a fundamental building block of proper nutrition, and they're about as filling as anything out there.
I first started using Quinoa after I grew tired of Couscous and started to experiment with other grains. Although technically a grain, Couscous always seems like a pasta to me. And although I've grown tired of it I haven't turned my back on it. I just felt like I needed to see some other grains, you know what I'm saying ?
So without further adieu, here is my recipe for Quinoa Salad.

Stroh's Quinoa Salad 
Packed with protein and gluten free!

Ingredients for about six servings
  • Quinoa                                                              1 1/2 cups
  • Water / Stock                                                        4 cups
  • Cucumber                                                          1
  • Carrot                                                                 3
  • Chives                                                             1 bunch
  • Celery                                                             4-5 stalks
  • Flat Leaf Parsley                                         1 Bunch
  • Red/Yellow Bell Pepper                              1
  • Mint                                                                 Just a few leaves
  • Red Onion                                                          1/2
  • Lemons                                                                2-3
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Kosher Salt/ Pepper
Rinse the Quinoa thoroughly under cold running water. Drain and place in pot with your cooking liquid.Water or Vegetable Stock both cook the Quinoa the same, but a light vegetable stock will give it a little more flavor. Add a healthy pinch of salt to the cooking liquid and bring it to a boil. Once the Quinoa has reached a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot to let cook for about fifteen minutes or until all of the cooking liquid is absorbed and the Quinoa is fluffy. Once the Quinoa is finished, fluff with a fork as you would rice and add a little Olive Oil for to keep the Quinoa from sticking together and clumping. Place it in the refrigerator to cool.

While the Quinoa is cooling prepare all of your vegetables for your knifework. Rinse them thoroughly, peel them, de-seed them and cut them into a small dice. I like to use a rule of thumb that the cut ingredients in your dish should be cut as small as the main ingredient. In other words, the Quinoa is really tiny, so cut the vegetables tiny ! Smaller cut vegetables will also give you an explosion of color in the dish.
Chop the herbs finely and cut the lemons in half.

Remove the cooled Quinoa from the refrigerator and stir in all of the cut vegetables and herbs. The acids in this recipe (Vinegar & Lemon juice) are added to the Quinoa first. My technique is to start off by adding about a tablespoon or two of  the vinegar, and the juice of one lemon. Fold it in to the mixture and add a few tablespoons the Olive Oil. Now add some salt and pepper and taste it for proper seasoning.
Keep tasting it, if it needs more salt or more olive oil, add more, don't be afraid but don't get crazy. The only way you're going to get this, and any other recipe right is if you keep tasting it.
In the our home we haven't ever had a salt and pepper shaker on our dinner table. I'm not forcing anyone to eat it my way, there's just no need when your food is properly seasoned.