Years ago, my vegetarian sister introduced me to quinoa. She first explained that, contrary to what it seems, this grain is pronounced “KEEN-wah.” She further mentioned that quinoa is popular with vegetarians because it is a complete source of protein.
Fast forward quite a few years. This grain has entered many non-vegetarian homes, and one need not go to a health food store to find it! I like quinoa for its versatility. It can be eaten cold or hot, with sweet or savory add-ins, and can be a delicious part of any meal.
The following salad is one I created a couple of years ago as local apples were arriving and I still had fresh mint in my garden. Though this dish is healthy and light, the combination of flavors and textures really satisfies. Serve as a vegetarian entrée or a unique side. Makes a great lunch, too.
For a great menu option, consider pairing this with Honey Sesame Pork Tenderloin. Then, if you have leftovers, scoop some quinoa salad onto a bed of mixed greens, top with leftover sliced pork (chicken works well, too) and drizzle with additional lemon-curry vinaigrette. Makes for a delicious round-two dinner in minutes!
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed (I like white quinoa for this recipe but red tastes the same)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot or red onion
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 apple, chopped (Fuji, Honey Crisp, Gala, and Stayman Winesap are all good choices)
- 1/4 cup raisins (I like golden in this recipe)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint, plus more for garnish
- 1/3 cup feta cheese
- 3 tablespoons slivered almonds
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
Bring quinoa and 1 1/4 cups water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 12 minutes or until water is absorbed. Fluff with fork.
Whisk together honey, shallot, curry powder, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Pour over quinoa and toss to coat.
Add apples, raisins, mint, feta cheese, almonds and pumpkin seeds and toss well.
- If making early in the day, I will typically wait to add the almonds and pumpkin seeds until just before serving to ensure they remain crunchy. Also, sunflower seeds are a nice alternative to the pumpkin seeds.