Sunday, August 16, 2009

Quinoa Salad

This is a magical recipe. It's not only tasty, it's also vegan, gluten-free, delicious with meat, great by itself, very healthy, can be made ahead (but doesn't have to be), is good at any temperature, and is pretty cheap given how marvelous it is. If you're still not convinced, know that it's also pretty, with its flecks of red and green and gold. Its only drawback is that it takes a little bit of work--but just tedious work, nothing finicky. This makes a lot--maybe 10 servings as a side dish? Great leftovers, great packed lunches, great for a crowd, so I always make a lot.

It's based on a recipe from the 1997 Joy of Cooking, but over its years in our kitchen it has evolved quite a lot. So change it at will, and let me know if you discover any particularly crackerjack variations.

1.5 cups quinoa
1 large clove garlic, minced
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon cumin
2 15-ounce cans garbanzo beans
2 red peppers
1 vidalia onion
1 cup sun dried (or roasted) tomatoes
1 bunch parsley
1/2 cup pine nuts
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
red pepper flakes to taste
salt to taste

First, cook the quinoa in 3 cups water (I use the rice cooker). While it's cooking, here's your list of tasks:

Mince the garlic.
Mix garlic, olive oil, and cumin in a large (huge) bowl.
Add each ingredient to the bowl as it's ready:
Rinse and drain the garbanzo beans.
Dice the red pepper and onion.
Finely chop the sun-dried tomatoes.
Finely chop the parsley.
Toast the pine nuts.
Stir in the vinegar, pepper flakes, and salt.
Add the cooked quinoa.
Mix, eat now or later.

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