Winter is on it’s way out, Spring is right around the corner and it’s time to change up the menu, moving from hearty stews and roasts to lighter fare and my clients are no exception. Although we live in a warm climate year-round, when the temperatures start climbing, no one wants a pot roast.
In this installment of #Client Food Fridays, we will put together this quinoa salad in about 20 minutes! How’s that for quick? Did it mention it’s delicious & healthy too? Winner!
An essential step in making quinoa that people skip is rinsing. Quinoa has a slightly bitter outer coating that needs to be rinsed before cooking. Make sure you use a VERY fine mesh strainer to rinse, otherwise you’ll watch all those precious seeds go right down the drain! More on that later…
As the weather starts to warm up, there will be beach days, picnics and other outside fun. Dishes like this one are perfect for packing up and taking along because they are very light and dressed only in a bit of olive oil and lemon juice. It makes a great lunch for the office, as there is no heating up required and when you are on a time crunch (as we ALL are, pretty much every single day, even on the weekends), the lack of time and effort are a blessing.
I know I sound like a broken record, but here it is again: If there is something you don’t care for, swap it out for something similar. You don’t like pistachios? Use almonds or cashews. You can’t find currants? Use dried cranberries or raisins, etc. There is a freedom in cooking, in experimenting with recipes and making them your own. When I was in my 20’s and not a very confident cook, I would follow a recipe To. The. Letter. I was afraid to veer off course, fearing it would have catastrophic results. I know better now. I’ve also got a couple of decades of cooking under my belt. The point is, I learned through trial & error. If something didn’t come out exactly as I’d hoped, I tried again and fiddled with a recipe until I got it right.
That being said, I burned my English muffin this morning because I forgot I put it in the toaster.
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and set aside
- 1/2 cup pistachios
- 1/4 cup currants
- 2 scallions, finely sliced
- 1 bunch mint, chopped
- 1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
- zest and juice of 3 lemons
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
- Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and combine with 2 cups water and 1/2 tsp salt in a wide bottomed pan.
- (I like to give it more surface area to spread out instead of cooking in a pot, it doesn't clump or get mushy when it has a little more room)
- Cook until quinoa has absorbed the water and you'll see little strands (that remind me of Saturn's rings) that will separate.
- When quinoa has finished cooking, spread it out on a baking sheet to cool. This also helps it to dry out and be "fluffy" instead of clumpy.
- In a large bowl, combine quinoa with pistachios, herbs, scallions, currants, lemon zest & juice and olive oil.
- Add in a tsp of salt & a 1/2 tsp pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Done!
- If you take the time to rinse your quinoa and let it dry out on a baking sheet after it's cooked, you will have perfect, fluffy quinoa Every Single Time.