“Shockingly delicious” is the phrase my “non-health-food-fanatic-husband” uses to describe quinoa.
Quinoa (pronounced ken-no-ah or KEEN-wah), has quickly become a household alternative to rice in America in recent years. We tend to classify it as a “non-gluten grain” but technically it’s a seed.
Hailed as “the Gold of the Incas” and the “Supergrain of the Future,” quinoa has been a main staple in South America, especially Peru, for a few millennia. With its mild, nutty flavor, and vast versatility, it’s no wonder. But the best part about quinoa, is the fact that it contains all eight essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and is a great source of calcium and fiber.
All this from one tiny little seed!
Below is one of my favorite, go-to salads. It’s especially delicious right now because beets are bursting out of the garden!
If you’ve never cooked quinoa, be sure to soak (and then rinse) for at least 20 minutes before cooking. I usually make one big batch of quinoa a week and use the leftovers as a way to bulk up a salad or as a quick and easy dinner.
What are you thoughts on quinoa? Try it and let me know. Do you agree? Is it “shockingly delicious?”
With love and quinoa,
Quinoa Beet Arugula Salad
Yields 2 large salads
Ingredients for the salad:
- 3 to 4 medium beets, trimmed
- 4 cups arugula
- 2 pickling cucumbers, chopped
- 1 cup quinoa (I used tricolor quinoa but any will do)
- 2 cups water
- Optional toppers: Kim Chi or avocado slices
Ingredients for the dressing:
- 2 TB. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ TB. white balsamic vinegar
- ½ tsp. honey
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Peel beets with vegetable peeler and cut into ½ inch cubes. Place beets in a shallow glass baking dish, toss with a drizzle of olive oil, pinch of sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Cover and bake until tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
To cook quinoa, soak first for at least 20 minutes. Using a fine mesh strainer, drain and rinse with cold water. Transfer to a bowl. In a medium-sized pot add 2 cups water and a pinch of sea salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to a simmer and cook for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove quinoa from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes with the lid on. Fluff quinoa with a fork and serve. Leftover quinoa stores well in the refrigerator for several days.
To make dressing, whisk together olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, honey, sea salt and pepper to taste.
Toss arugula with a light coating of dressing. To assemble your salad, layer arugula, 1/4 to 1/2 cup warm quinoa (or more to your liking) and warm beets. Drizzle with salad dressing to taste before serving.
*Optional: Top with kim chi or avocado. Salad can be enjoyed warm or cold.