How fortunate it is that tomatoes and basil both thrive in summer heat. When it’s too hot to cook, salads make frequent appearances on the dinner menu in my house and with the bounty of tomatoes and basil outside in the garden, who could resist not finding as many ways as possible to use these two summer favorites? It only gets better – here’s a recipe that combines tomatoes and basil with the healthy goodness of quinoa. In an earlier post Quinoa and Shrimp Salad, I explained why quinoa is a nutritional gem; these tiny seeds contain a balanced set of essential amino acids, making them complete proteins, and are a great gluten-free source of dietary fiber, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, and iron.
Quinoa Salad With Tomatoes and Basil
Adapted from a recipe by Rachel Venokur-Clark
1 C quinoa
1/2 red onion, diced
2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
1/3 C sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil), diced
1/2 C fresh basil, chopped
1/4 C pine nuts, toasted
4 garlic cloves
1-1/2 tsp lemon juice
3 T white balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
1. Measure quinoa into a sieve and rinse with cold water. Drain. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add quinoa. Cover and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Set aside and let cool.
2. Whisk together all dressing ingredients, except for the olive oil. Pour oil in a small stream into the the bowl of dressing ingredients, whisking the whole time to form an emulsion. Set aside.
3. Toast the pine nuts in a pan until lightly browned and fragrant. While toasting, keep an eye on them and stir them occasionally so that they don’t burn. Let cool.
4. To the cooked and cooled quinoa, add diced onion, diced tomatoes, diced sun-dried tomatoes, and diced basil. Toss gently.
5. Whisk salad dressing again and pour over salad ingredients. Toss again.
6. Serve on a bed of lettuce and garnish with toasted pine nuts.