Warm Colorful Quinoa Salad
The cranberries and nuts make this festive-looking dish a great-tasting, healthy side for the holidays -- and for any other time, too. Quinoa is one of the few grains that can boast being a complete protein. It is a great addition to any vegetarian menu and a staple for anyone who wants a healthy, versatile whole grain in their anti-cancer pantry. It’s quick to make, but you can make some ahead of time and store it to have on hand. It will keep in the fridge for up to three days or in the freezer for up to three months.
- 2 cups quinoa, rinsed well in a fine sieve
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley, plus 1 sprig
- 1 ½ tablespoons finely chopped cilantro, plus 1 sprig
- 4 scallions, white parts finely chopped, green tops reserved
- 4 cups water or stock
- 3 medium shallots, finely chopped
- 2 small orange peppers, cut into a fine dice
- 3 medium carrots, cut into a fine dice
- 1 small fennel bulb, cut into a fine dice
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Grated peel of 1 small lemon
- ½ cup dried cranberries, soaked in hot water to plump
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- Sea salt, to taste
More Like This
Be sure to wash the quinoa well in a fine sieve. The grain has a bitter outer coating, saponin, which needs to be washed off before cooking.
1. Put the quinoa, parsley, cilantro sprigs, and scallion tops into a saucepan with a lid. Add the water and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Bring to a boil. Cover, turn the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Take off the heat and set aside, covered, until you are ready to use it.
2. While the quinoa is cooking, heat the remaining olive oil in a large sauté pan over a medium flame. Add the shallots and gently sauté for 2-3 minutes, until they start to soften. Add the peppers, carrots, and fennel, and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until they, too, start to soften.
3. Add salt to taste, turn the heat down and cook slowly, partially covered, until the shallots have started to caramelize and the other vegetables are soft, about 10-15 minutes.
4. Remove the cover from the vegetables. Turn up the flame to medium-high and add the ground cumin. Stir for a minute, then add the chopped scallions, ⅔ of the parsley and cilantro, and all the lemon zest. Stir to mix well and cook for a minute to blend the flavors.
5. Remove the herbs and scallion greens from the quinoa, and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Add the quinoa to the vegetables a little at a time until the dish is about half quinoa and half vegetables. Stir to mix. Freeze any extra quinoa.
6. Add the cranberries and the chopped nuts and mix well. Just before serving, add the remaining herbs and mix to heat through for a minute. Serve immediately.