Quinoa is truly a delightful little grain. And good for you too. High in antioxidants, fiber and minerals, the South American "supergrain" provides many health benefits, including helping to promote weight loss, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and even prevent migraines. Quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a "complete" protein without the need to combine it with other grains, legumes or meats.
Gourmet Today cookbook, though I almost skipped it, thinking at first it was an unnecessarily fussy extra step. But, then I thought, wait - if Ruth put it in there, maybe I should just give it a try. Good move, Claudia...
Usually I just bring twice the amount of water or stock as grain, to a boil, and simmer the rinsed seeds, exactly like I do rice. Steamed afterward, they become a light and fluffy canvas for dabbing in the colors, flavors and textures of this salad.
You could use a variety of vegetables here. Cucumbers, bell pepper, zucchini, avocado, red onion would all be great. Herbs as you like. The recipe in Gourmet Today had sweet corn, roasted poblano chiles, cilantro and tomato. Oh boy, something for the next time.
Quinoa Salad with Watercress, Asparagus, Pepitas and Feta
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water or chicken stock
2 green onions, minced
1/4 cup hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas), toasted in a dry skillet
2 cups asparagus, broken into 1 inch pieces
1 cup watercress leaves, washed
1/2 cup crumbled feta
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup garlic mayo (recipe below) or more as you like
1 cup watercress leaves
Fresh ground black pepper and salt to taste
Bring your water or stock to a boil, add salt and the well rinsed quinoa and simmer for about 15 minutes, uncovered. While that is going, you can cook your asparagus just until bright green and tender (about 6-8 minutes) in a pot of boiling water. Drain with a ladle and set aside, keeping the water at a boil.
Toss everything together with the mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Garlic Anchovy Mayonnaise
Adapted from the recipe by Louisa at The Wednesday Chef
Makes about 1/2 cup
1 egg yolk
1 garlic clove, minced
1 anchovy fillet
1/3 to 1/2 cup of neutral vegetable oil
2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Put all the ingredients, except oil, in a wide-mouth jar and pulse for about 30 seconds with an immersion blender. Use a good pinch of salt, and as much minced garlic as you'd like (I used about half a clove, which made for a pretty mild mayo). Pulse again. While pulsing, slowly drizzle in the oil until the mixture is emulsified and creamy. Taste for salt and thin with a little more lemon juice if necessary.
A very substantial and filling meal, yet light and summery. I espeially enjoyed the crunchy, nutty toasted pumpkin seeds in there. Endlessly variable. I'm sending my dish over to My Meatless Mondays Lots of good information and recipes to check out.