We’ve been eating more and more Quinoa lately. You can find it in your local supermarket, but if not look for it at natural foods stores who usually carry it. It is available in prepackaged containers as well as bulk bins. The most common type of quinoa has an off-white color but red and black varieties are becoming more available. The red has a slightly earthier flavor then the white and once cooked, it has a light brownish color.
You can substitute rice in any dish with quinoa, but understand that it is not a grain. Although we cook and eat quinoa like many other grains, botanically speaking, it’s a relative of spinach, beets and chard and the actual part that we eat is the seed. It has more than twice the amount of protein than rice and has been called the complete protein. It contains all nine of the essential amino acids, which cannot be made by the body and therefore must come from food and it is a good source of fiber and is easy to digest.
You should store quinoa in an airtight container where it will keep for a longer period of time, approximately three to six months, if stored in the refrigerator. The girls were coming over and I was looking for a fun and different salad to share and came up with this based on ingredients that I had on hand with flavors commonly found in my roasted beet salad!
1 15oz can Beets (NOT pickled, diced)
1 Cup Red Quinoa (may use white)
2 Cups Chicken Stock
1 Cup Thyme Vinaigrette , divided
2 Green Onions, chopped fine
4 Cups Argula, fresh
1/2 Cup Candied Nuts
1/3 Cup Dried Blueberries
1 Cup Cherry Tomatoes, quartered
1/2 Lemon Zest
1 Cup Soft Goat Cheese, crumbled (or feta)
To cook the quinoa, add one part of the grain to two parts liquid in a saucepan. After the mixture is brought to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cover. One cup of quinoa cooked in this method usually takes 15 minutes to prepare. When cooking is complete, you will notice that the grains have become somewhat translucent. You can dry roast the quinoa prior to adding the liquid to give it a nuttier flavor.
Once the liquid has been absorbed, allow to sit for about five minutes and fuff with a fork. As soon as you have fluffed the hot quinoa, add half of the dressing to it and toss to evenly distribute it. Reserve remaining dressing and place quinoa covered in the refrigerator until cool, at least an hour.
Mean while, chop the vegetables and add the lime zest and remaining dressing to the arugula.
Add the cooled quinoa mixture, to the greens and stir in the rest of the ingredients. You may want additional dressing to moisten. Toss lightly before serving.
Serve chilled. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator and enjoy within the next couple of days because the greens become soft.