Quinoa is one of my absolute favorite foods. I love that it’s not only tasty, but incredibly healthy to boot! It cooks just like rice, which makes it really simple to prepare. This seed (which acts quite like a grain), pronounced “keen-wah,” is full of nutritional benefits. Amazingly, quinoa contains all 9 amino acids, making it a complete protein! It is also very high in magnesium, fiber, manganese and copper. It’s easy to digest, very filling, and can be used in a very wide variety of recipes. So far, I’ve eaten it mostly in “salad” form, but I’ve also sauteed it with mushrooms and toasted sesame seed oil to go along with chicken breast. Mmm-mm, delicious!
This recipe, by the way, is extremely inexpensive. We make sure we always have one or two shallots on hand, and of course our cupboard is always stocked with different kinds of vinegars and oils. We usually grow our own parsley (which I accidentally let go to seed just recently – darn it!) and we like to buy quinoa in bulk so that we always have some in the kitchen. And of course, we have salt and red pepper flakes! Ultimately, this recipe really only requires us to make sure we have a cucumber, as well as parsley (until I grow some more), because otherwise, the ingredients are always available. I love that!
Quinoa Salad with Cucumber (from Martha Stewart Living, July 2009 Edition)
2 cups water
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 small shallot, finely chopped
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar (white balsamic or white white vinegars work as well)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small English cucumber (hothouse is nice, too), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise (1 cup)
3/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1. Bring water, quinoa, and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat; cover, and simmer until tender and water has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet, and let cool on a wire rack.
2. Combine shallot, vinegar, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil until emulsified.
Transfer quinoa to a large bowl, and stir in cucumber, parsley, and vinaigrette. Season with salt (and enjoy!).