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August 16, 2013: Red Quinoa Salad

August 16, 2013

Red Quinoa SaladI heard a someone say the other day that they did not ever eat salads. Not me. I practically live on salads, especially in Summer. Salads are cool, crisp, light, and delicious…perfect for hot weather. In Summer, we have numerous local greens to be found at farmer’s markets. In addition, we have an almost limitless assortment of additions available to salads for variety. I firmly believe that I could make a completely different (and delicious) salad every day of the Summer.

One add-on to salads that I never considered before this week is quinoa, an extremely healthy, grain-like, pseudo-cereal, from the Andean region of South America. Originally cultivated 3-4 thousand years ago, the Incas called quinoa [pr: “KEEN-WAH”] the “Mother of All Grains” even although it is not a true grain, but a closer relative to spinach, than say…wheat. Quinoa is gluten-free, high fiber,  rich in amino acids, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and B-vitamins. Quinoa has the taste and texture of brown rice with a slight nutty flavor. There are white and red varieties of quinoa, with the red being a bit sweeter than the white.

For the salad, I cooked 1C. quinoa in 1.5C of my own veggie broth and then let it cool. The salad above is the red quinoa, black beans, sliced red pepper, several different cherry tomatoes, and baby leaves of spinach, arugula, red romaine, frisee, beet greens, mustard, kale, and collards. I usually have a vinaigrette with a salad like this, but I only had a honey-mustard dressing this day and this worked well also.

I have plans to add red quinoa to both basamati rice and couscous to develop a colorful and interesting side for quests.

Official_Logo_for_the_International_Year_of_QuinoaThere is no better time to enjoy quinoa than the present, as the UN General Assembly has declared 2013 the “International Year of Quinoa” in recognition of the Andean people s cultivation and preservation of quinoa for past, present, and future generations of the Earth.

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