Quinoa anybody? Like making a new friend, I have been so glad to explore the new varieties of tastes with this little grain. Quinoa, pronounced “keen-waa,” is an ancient grain being re-introduced to the world of gluten-free folks. (Truth be told, this little “grain” is actually a seed.) With the low glycemic index, this nutrient-dense, complete protein is also high in fiber! Bam! Bam! and BAM! Originally found in the great Andes Mountains of South America, the Incas called it the “mother of all grains!”
The taste is a little crunchy, but not too much. The flavor is a bit nutty. Different varieties can be found… red, tri-colored, brown. If you haven’t dabbled with the taste yet, I have a great little chilled quinoa salad to tickle your palate! (And if you have dabbled with quinoa, just get the water boiling. You’re gonna love this dish!) For this recipe, I use the tri-colored variety…
1 1/2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa – be sure to rinse the grains a couple of times before cooking. (Soaking for 15 – 30 minutes is also a great idea as this step removes some of the saponins which can deplete minerals in the body.) After soaking/rinsing, cook the grains like you would cook rice. So very easy! Done in 15 minutes! Set aside to cool for about an hour before adding the other ingredients.
2 – 3 fresh tomatoes, peeled and sliced into small chunks
2 cucumbers, sliced into small chunks with seeds removed
1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped bell peppers ( I use yellow or orange ones, but any will work well.)
chopped red onion, to taste
1 cup CULTURED GOURMET GRAPES, sliced (If you don’t have any cultured grapes, you can use red grapes although you are missing out on an amazing flavor! If you would like to make these amazing probiotic super foods, click here for the super easy recipe! They are some of my favorite treats!)
feta cheese crumbles, as many as you like! (I like many, many!)
salt (the real kind. If you’re not sure, click here for details), pepper, and garlic powder to taste
In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Drizzle the dressing (details below) and stir again. Pour into glass dish and top with extra feta crumbles. Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before serving and wow-ing those at your dinner table!
Dressing Ingredients: Whisk together equal parts olive oil and your favorite vinegar ( I enjoy the flavor of the orange champagne vinegar from Trader Joes!). Sweeten a bit with 2-3 tablespoons raw honey.
WE LOVE THIS SALAD at my house! Leftovers save well in the refrigerator for several days, but I can’t keep any on hand that long. One of my new favorite meals is this salad served with grilled chicken tenders. YUM!
Sure hope you have opportunity to savor quinoa in your dishes. It is such a wonderful super food! Surprise the folks at the neighborhood potluck or the church “covered dish dinner” with something new. Sort of like introducing new friends!