This is Bonnie’s recipe that I make a lot. My friends and family can attest to that. Quinoa is the new black and there are a lot of quinoa salad recipes floating around out there. But this one is REALLY good! It must be the vinaigrette because the ingredients change so much for me. This salad is your reliable friend who will always be there for you. You can ditch it for a lunch date and then have it the next day and it still tastes great. Its versatility and make-ahead factor make it great for potlucks and picnics. There are many options and it lends itself well to substitutions or subtractions. Don’t have any mint or preserved lemons on hand? No Problemo. I have tried Mon’s version with perfectly ripe avocado and sometimes I add dried cranberries or apricots and toasted almonds for some contrasting sweetness and crunch. If you wanted to keep the Verde theme going, try adding chopped pistachios and green apples. -Steph McVox
Quinoa Primavera Verde
· Vinaigrette (recipe below)
· 1 cup un-cooked quinoa
· 1 ½ cups cold water
· ½ teaspoon salt
· ½ English cucumber, diced
· 1 cup of green beans or asparagus (blanched, cooled and chopped)
· 1 cup fresh baby peas or edamame or slivered snap peas
· 2 green onions, chopped fine (or use chives in the summer)
· Zest from one lemon or half of the rind from a preserved lemon, chopped fine (optional)
· 1 Tablespoon fresh mint, chopped fined
· 2 Tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
· Chopped arugula, spinach or mizuna greens or green apple
· I cup feta, diced or crumbled
Rinse quinoa very thoroughly (or soak for 15 minutes in water) and drain through a fine mesh strainer. Place in 2 qt pot with the water and salt. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to very low, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit five minutes with lid on.
Fluff and cool in big bowl while you prepare everything else.
Add cukes, peas, beans, green onions, parsley, mint, greens, and whatever else you are adding. (If adding avocado, add it last after the vinaigrette and feta and gently combine so it does not get mashed. Toss with cooled quinoa and stir in dressing and crumbled feta. This makes one decent-sized bowl.
· Juice from one lemon (zest first)
· 2 Tablespoon favourite lighter vinegar (white wine, rice, or champagne)
· 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
· Dash of hot sauce
· Squirt of honey or to taste
· Salt and pepper to taste
· 3 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
Whisk together everything except the oil and then drizzle oil in while whisking so it emulsifies (I don’t get to say that word very often).
You can vary this salad with just about anything:
· Greek – add chopped red peppers, red onion, black olives, oregano
· Southwest – black beans with corn/cilantro
· Mediterranean – grilled veggies and asiago cheese
· Caprese – mozzarella, tomatoes and basil
It’s also good hot as a pilaf. Melt butter and oil, add onion, garlic, diced carrots, S and P and sauté quinoa for 5 minutes. Add stock and simmer until done. Fluff and serve under curry, stew, chili etc.