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Southwest Quinoa Salad Like Superman, quinoa possesses super powers. Well, maybe not, but quinoa is an excellent source of protein and it contains all eight essential amino acids. If you’re looking for a tasty way to prepare this “superfood,” look no further. Boasting the southwestern combination of corn, peppers, beans, cilantro and lime, this colorful and nutritious salad might disappear from your plate “faster than a speeding bullet.”

Southwestern Quinoa Salad
Recipe From Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood by Patricia Green & Carolyn Hemming

INGREDIENTS
2 cups water
1 cup quinoa
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 to 3 limes)
4 tsp apple cider vinegar
2½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp finely minced jalapeño, Fresno or Mirasol pepper (optional)
1¼ cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 cup diced red bell pepper
One 14 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS
1. Bring the water and quinoa to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave the covered saucepan on the burner for another 4 minutes. Fluff with a fork and allow the quinoa to cool.

2. Whisk the oil, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, cumin and jalapeño (if using) in a small bowl.

3. Place the cooled quinoa in a large bowl. Stir the dressing into the quinoa.

4. Toss in the corn, red pepper, black beans, cilantro and salt.

5. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

Serves 4 to 6

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. Quinoa naturally has a bitter coating of saponins. As a matter of habit, I always rinse quinoa in a strainer under cold running water prior to cooking to remove any residual saponin. Some brands of quinoa state that they are pre-washed.

2. I added some fresh ground black pepper.

3. I also added a pinch of sugar to counterbalance some of the combined acidity of the vinegar and lime juice.

4. I prefer serving this salad chilled. It seems more refreshing that way.

Enjoy!

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Quinoa and Apple Salad with Curry Dressing If you are looking for a salad that is a little bit sweet, a little bit spicy, a little bit crunchy, and quite a bit healthy, look no more. Serve this easy-to-make salad year-round. But with the abundance of freshly-harvested apples here in North America, the best time to serve this salad will be in the fall. With flavor powerhouses such as curry, honey, lemon, and mint you wouldn’t expect this salad to be so mild and delicately balanced. On the nutritional side, this salad’s no slouch either. Per serving, as provided on the recipe’s original site, it contains: 304 calories, 14 gr fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 38 g carbs, 154 mg sodium, 8 g protein, and 5 g fiber. Good for you and great tasting – that’s what I call a win-win recipe!

Quinoa and Apple Salad with Curry Dressing
Martha Stewart Living Cookbook, Volume 2

INGREDIENTS
1/4 cup raw whole almonds
1 cup white quinoa
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons dried currants
1 small McIntosh apple, cut into 1/8-inch-thick wedges.
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped, plus more for garnish

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spread almonds on a rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 7 minutes. Let cool; coarsely chop nuts.

2. Rinse quinoa thoroughly in a fine sieve; drain. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add quinoa; return to a boil. Stir quinoa; cover, and reduce heat. Simmer until quinoa is tender but still chewy, about 15 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork; let cool.

3. Whisk together honey, shallot, curry powder, salt and lemon juice in a large bowl. Season with pepper. Whisking constantly, pour in oil in a slow, steady stream; whisk until dressing is emulsified. Add quinoa, currants, apple, mint, and nuts; toss well.

4. Garnish with mint.

Serves 4

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. Here’s a time-saving tip: I roast different varieties of nuts (almonds, walnuts, and pecans) in bulk and after they’ve cooled, I put them in separate airtight bags and store them in the freezer. When needed, I just reach into the freezer and remove the required amount. Except for chopping the nuts, I was all but done with step 1.

2. The amount of curry specified results in a very mild curry flavor. For those of you who prefer a more distinct curry flavor, more curry powder can be added in step 3.

3. I couldn’t find a McIntosh apple, so I used a Honey Crisp. I cut the apple into 1/8-inch thick slices and cut those slices in half crosswise. I felt the whole slices would be too large in proportion to the rest of the ingredients. Thanks to the lemon juice in the dressing, the apples do not turn brown in this salad, even when refrigerated overnight.

4. The recipe just doesn’t taste as good without the mint leaves. It makes a difference – the cool mint flavor balances the slight spiciness of the curry very well.

5. I served the quinoa salad on a bed of baby spinach and arugula leaves. Next time I think I will make a double batch of the dressing and toss a little bit of it with the greens just prior to plating. The dressing will help the other salad ingredients cling to the leaves better.

Enjoy!

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Feeling guilty over devouring a two-pound lobster last night in celebration of my 35th wedding anniversary, tonight I’m eating a healthy quinoa and black bean salad that’s tossed with a lime-cumin dressing and served on a bed of fresh pea shoots. I’ve posted other quinoa recipes before, so you already know that these grains are amazingly-nutritious. Adding the delicate pea shoots provides a rich source of Vitamins K, C, and A. What a delicious way to offset the gluttony of the evening before!

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad
Recipe from Epicurious

Ingredients for Salad:
1½ cups quinoa
1½ cups cooked black beans, rinsed if canned
1½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
1½ cups cooked corn (cut from about two ears)
3/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
2 pickled jalapeño chilies, seeded and minced (wear rubber gloves)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh coriander

Ingredients for Dressing:
5 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
1 teaspoon salt
1¼ teaspoons ground cumin, or to taste
1/3 cup olive oil

Directions:
1. In a bowl wash quinoa in at least 5 changes cold water, rubbing grains and letting them settle before pouring off most of water, until water runs clear and drain in a large fine sieve.

2. In a saucepan of salted boiling water cook quinoa 10 minutes. Drain quinoa in sieve and rinse under cold water. Set sieve over a saucepan of boiling water (quinoa should not touch water) and steam quinoa, covered with a kitchen towel and lid, until fluffy and dry, about 10 minutes (check water level in saucepan occasionally, adding water if necessary).

3. While quinoa is cooking, in a small bowl toss beans with vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.

4. Transfer quinoa to a large bowl and cool. Add beans, corn, bell pepper, jalapeños, and coriander. Toss well.

5. In a small bowl whisk together lime juice, salt, and cumin and add oil in a stream, whisking.

6. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss well with salt and pepper to taste. Salad may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring salad to room temperature before serving.

Serves 4 to 6 as an entrée or 8 as a side dish.

Linnell’s Notes:
1. Fresh jalapeño can be used instead of pickled jalapeño.
2. Coriander is also called cilantro. According to Wikipedia, “Cilantro (sih-LAHN-troh) is the Spanish word for coriander leaves.”
3. Because I had fresh lemons and didn’t have fresh limes, I substituted 5 tablespoons of lemon juice for the lime juice. With that substitution, I decided to use Meyer lemon-infused olive oil in lieu of regular olive oil.
4. Another successful substitution was Italian parsley for the coriander leaves. I’m sure the recipe would have had a more southwestern flavor, if I had used lime juice and coriander leaves. My version had a bit more of an Italian flare.
5. I used less salt than the recipe called for. I did not add any salt to the bean and vinegar mixture and I only put in a pinch of salt into the dressing mixture.

ENJOY!

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Wedding bells will chime this week for my son and his fiancé. As I happily wade through lists and list of wedding details, I offer you a repost of one of my favorite summer salads. Enjoy!

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

Salad Ingredients:
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

Dressing Ingredients:
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

Directions:
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.

Serves 4-6.

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Quinoa is a super food all year round, but it shines especially in summer salads. Take an average spinach and mushroom salad and make it more nutritious and more substantial by adding quinoa to it. And by adding omega-3-rich walnuts, this salad goes from healthy to heart healthy!

Quinoa, Spinach and Mushroom Salad
Recipe by Martha Rose Schulman, author of “The Very Best Recipes for Health”

Salad Ingredients:
3/4 cup quinoa
1¼ cups water
Salt to taste
1 bag baby spinach, rinsed and dried, or 1/2 bunch spinach, stemmed, washed and dried
6 white or cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled (1/4 cup, optional)

Dressing Ingredients:
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 small garlic clove, puréed
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup buttermilk
Freshly ground pepper

Directions:
1. Place quinoa in a strainer and rinse several times with cold water. Place in a medium saucepan with 1¼ cups water and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 15 minutes, until the grains display a threadlike spiral and the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat, remove the lid and place a dishtowel over the pan, then return the lid to the pan and let sit for 10 minutes or longer undisturbed. Transfer to a salad bowl and fluff with forks. Allow to cool.

2. Add the spinach, mushrooms, walnuts, parsley and optional cheese to the bowl.

3. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and toss with the salad just before serving.

Yields: 6 servings

Advance Preparation: You can assemble the salad up to a day ahead, but don’t toss with the dressing until shortly before serving.

Linnell’s Notes:
1. I could not find sherry vinegar in the grocery store, so I used champagne vinegar that I already had at home.

2. I used 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon of Meyer lemon olive oil in the salad dressing.

3. For added flavor, I simmered the quinoa in chicken broth instead of water. Because the broth contains salt, I added no additional salt to the cooking water.

4. Strict vegetarians can choose to omit the feta cheese.

ENJOY!

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The introduction had me after the first four words, “Not your average meatball.” But then it went on to say, “This modern version is an instant hit for any gathering. Great for finger food or served on a sandwich.” A vision of a juicy, meatball sandwich tantalized me and forced me to run around my kitchen to check if I had the ingredients for this recipe. The ingredients are an interesting combination: pickled jalapeño peppers add kick and lime juice adds tang, but these meatballs also contain good-for-you quinoa, which adds moisture to the meatballs, and not-so-good-for-you bacon, which adds great flavor. Like life, these meatballs are all about balance!

Santa Fe Meatballs
From the cookbook Quinoa: The Everyday Superfood 365

Ingredients:
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup quinoa
1 lb lean ground beef or turkey
6 slices bacon, finely chopped and cooked
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, Italian parsley or curly parsley
2 large eggs
1 tbsp minced fresh garlic
2 tsp minced pickled jalapeños
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1 lime

Directions:
1. Bring water and quinoa to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave the covered saucepan on the burner for an additional 5 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff with a fork. Set aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

3. Combine the ground meat, 1/2 cup cooked quinoa, bacon, onion, cilantro, eggs, garlic, jalapeños, cumin and salt in a medium bowl. Blend well and form the mixture into 1-inch meatballs.

4. Place meatballs on a large nonstick baking sheet or one lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 7-8 minutes, then turn the meatballs and cook for another 7-8 minutes, until they are no longer pink inside.

5. Juice the lime and drizzle over the meatballs. Serve immediately.

Makes about 50.

Linnell’s Notes:
1. I used ground turkey with good results. The turkey meat remained moist.

2. I know it runs contrary to the reason for putting bacon in a recipe, but I did trim a lot of the fat away while cutting up the bacon. It just didn’t make sense to use ground turkey and then add fat back into the recipe.

3. Because I have friends who are not fond of cilantro, I used a mixture of fresh cilantro and fresh parsley. That way, a little bit of cilantro flavor comes through, but it’s not a dominant flavor in the meatballs.

4. I used three limes. Two for their juice and one for garnish.

5. You will have leftover quinoa. Refrigerate it for future use or make a small quinoa salad to eat with the meatballs.

6. I used a 1-inch, spring-loaded, ice cream scoop to create even-sized meatballs. If you don’t have a scoop like this, pinching off equal-sized portions of meat and rolling them between your palms works well, too.

7. I poured the lime juice into a large bowl and gently tossed the hot meatballs in the juice before plating them.

8. The recipe states, “To keep this gluten-free, make sure you use gluten-free bacon.”

Enjoy!

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Quinoa and Shrimp Salad

P1080937_1Always on the lookout for healthy recipes, I found several interesting ones that use quinoa. Quinoa, which is pronounced KEEN-WAH, is a tiny Peruvian seed. Although it resembles couscous and can be served like rice, it is far more nutritious than either; quinoa is packed with all the essential amino acids. I saw this recipe by Martha Rose Shulman last year and have made this tasty and nutritious dish several times. Of course, like everything else I do, I had to tweak it a bit. Attractive mounded on a bed of leafy greens, it serves about six.

Here’s my adaptation of Ms. Shulman’s recipe:
Step 1: Basic Quinoa
1 cup quinoa
3 cups water or stock
1/2 teaspoon salt (just a pinch worked for me)

1. Put quinoa in a mesh sieve and run under cold water to remove a bitter and protective coating on the seeds.

2. Bring the water or stock to a boil and put in quinoa seeds and salt. Bring water to a boil again, cover pot, turn down heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes or until seeds look translucent and tiny curly threads appear.

3. Drain liquid and fluff with fork. Let cool if using for salad.

Note: Cooked quinoa will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator.

Step 2: Dressing
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon seasoned rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 small garlic clove, minced
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt to taste
2 teaspoons sesame seed oil
1/4 cup canola oil
2 T buttermilk (I used soymilk because that was all I had)
2 teaspoons of sweet soy sauce

Step 3: Salad
3 cups cooked quinoa (use all that was prepared in step 1)
4 scallions, white and green parts, sliced thin
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
1/4 C chopped cilantro
1-2 cups bay shrimp or as much as desired

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, vinegar, ginger, garlic, cayenne, salt, sesame seed oil, canola oil, buttermilk, and sweet soy.

2. In a salad bowl, combine the cooked and cooled quinoa, scallions, cucumber, and cilantro. Toss with the dressing. Toss in the shrimp just before serving, so that it does not “cook” in the lime juice.

Here’s to healthy eating!

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