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March 16, 2012 / beeandtrumpet

Quinoa Salad, Two Ways

This epicurious quinoa salad recipe was making the rounds on pinterest, and I had to flag it for a trial run – the picture was pretty, I have several heavy-rotation salads like it, and almost always have all the materials on-hand.  Grain salads are protein-packed, toothy, wonderful make-ahead-meals; add the accompaniment (in this case, cheese & avocado), and a splash of acid (lemon/vinegar) just before serving, and the dressed grains will keep in the fridge for the better part of the week.

Cold Lunch: Quinoa and Wild Rice Salad

This one would be great for supper with a simple red-lentil soup (Better Than Bouillon ‘No Chicken Base’ will change your vegetarian soup and risotto making  life).

Quinoa and Wild Rice Salad

Material

1 1/2 cup cooked wild rice

1 cup quinoa, cooked (with 1 bay leaf)

1/4 tsp kosher salt plus more

4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 small onion, finely chopped

3 large garlic cloves, pressed

1 heaping tsp ground cumin

3 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 tbsp minced scallion

Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

1 avocado, peeled, pitted, sliced or cubed

3/4 cup ricotta salata, diced

1 lemon, cut into wedges

Method

Sauté the onion in 2 tbsp of the oil over medium low heat until well softened, but not browned, about 8 minutes.  Add the garlic and cumin and cook a minute or two more, until fragrant. Remove from heat

In a working glass, small bowl, or whatever vessel you prefer for preparing dressings, combine the remaining oil, fresh lemon juice, the onion mixture, a bit of salt and a generous grinding of pepper. Blitz to a smooth puree with your handy stick blender.

In a large bowl combine the dressing, rice, quiona, cilantro, parsley and chive.  Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.  Serve with a generous portion of avocado and ricotta salata, ‘garnish’ each plate with a lemon wedge.

In the Studio: Portrait of the Artist as the Mother of One

Quinoa and Lentil Salad

This Top-Five Favorite (foodnetwork) is very similar to the above, although even simpler.  It is also excellent with avocado and ricotta salata (or feta).  The acid called for here is red wine vinegar, but I like to use the lime’s juice, too, or even a splash of sherry vinegar, for extra bite.  As with all these salads, if you do keep them for a while, always brighten up with an extra splash just before serving.

Material

1 heaping cup pardina lentils (french or black would work), cooked

1 heaping  cup quinoa, cooked

2 tsp Dijon mustard (whole grain preferred)

¼ cup red wine vinegar

scant ½ cup oil (I like grapeseed here)

½ tsp garlic powder (I know, I know, but do it anyway)

1 lime, thoroughly zested

Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

4 scallions, chopped fine

Generous 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

A few ounces feta (or ricotta salata, diced) cheese, crumbled

Method

In your mini-processor or hand-blender vessel, blitz the oil, vinegar, lime zest, salt and pepper to make a smooth emulsion.

Place the cooked, cooled lentils and quinoa in a large bowl.  Add the scallion and cilantro. Mix in a handful or two, of crumbled/diced cheese.  Pour in the dressing and toss to coat.

Taste, adjust seasoning; brighten with a little juice from the lime, or a splash of sherry vinegar, add more salt & pepper if needed.

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