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.