Saturday, May 17, 2014

Simple Cranberry Quinoa Salad

The next few posts will be a good handful of food ideas or recipes submitted to me from your participation in FRD2014. I am excited to share what you did with the rest of my readers and add them to my own recipe repertoire!

This recipe was contributed by my sweet niece in Montreal. Kathia has always been interested in cooking and probably picked it up from her mom who cooks home-made meals everyday particularly Vietnamese food, which she use to proudly take to school for lunch. I've tried many of my sister-in-law's dishes- simple but cooked from the heart and always delicious. Being health conscious and working out regularly, I was not surprised when Kathia sent over this quinoa recipe. As she puts it, this salad is delicious, healthy and simple to make for your family or to prepare in advance for a gathering with your friends. Quinoa is a superfood known to be one of the most protein-rich foods with a host of benefits such as antioxidants, is gluten-free, a good source of riboflavin and fibre and so much more! Generally, it has a light fluffy and crunchy texture and slight nutty flavour that tastes good as a main dish or as an accompaniment.

Simple Cranberry Quinoa Salad
Makes 6 servings

2 cups of organic quinoa                                                                         
4 cups of homemade chicken stock                                           
2 star anise                                                                                  
1 Tbsp. butter                                                               
3 green onions
1 medium orange pepper (or 3 small ones for the kind of peppers used here)
1/2 cucumber
½ cup of dried cranberries
8 basil leaves plucked from stem
Citrus or lime juice to taste
¼ cup of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

All photos in this post courtesy of Kathia Le

There are a few different varieties of quinoa, but the most common type is white quinoa, which has a light, fluffy texture and a slightly nutty flavor. Red quinoa has a more pronounced nutty flavour, and black quinoa is a little more crunchy. Sometimes you'll see them sold as a blend, described as rainbow quinoa or tri-color quinoa.

1)  In a saucepan, melt butter and stir the quinoa for one minute.

2)   Pour the chicken stock and add the star anise. Bring to a boil.

3)  Decrease heat to low, cover and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. While still hot, stir quinoa with a fork to separate and fluff the grains. Remove onto plate or bowl. Let the quinoa cool at room temperature or put it in the fridge for about 45 minutes.

4)   Coarsely chop the green onions, orange pepper(s) and the cucumber.  Finely chop the basil leaves. 

      5) Once the quinoa is cooled, transfer it in a large bowl and mix with the green onions, the orange pepper(s), the cucumber and the cranberries. Add the citrus or lime juice and olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Cool for one hour in fridge before serving. TIP: If desired, add in toasted pecans or your favourite nuts for extra crunch.

Gorgeous with a chockful of fresh and vibrant ingredients

Thank you Kathia for sharing such a wonderful, lovely and healthy salad! I love quinoa and will definitely make this soon! 

For an alternative quinoa salad, try it with black beans in Quinoa Black Bean Salad.

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