Quinoa Salad

To quote my steak-obsessed dog, the most wonderful time of the year is almost upon us. Namely, barbecuing season. Fortunately, Denver Post food columnist and local chef John Broening recently published his favorite recipes and one of them is a barbecue-worthy salad. Although some of Broening’s stuff is a little tedious for a home cook (he’s kind of obsessed with fava beans, each of which must be peeled…twice), his salads are a little more my speed. His oatmeal salad is a quick and delicious favorite. This most recent salad is equally easy and fast. It’s a quinoa salad with Asian flavors. I’ve noticed that quinoa is now available at my local Safeway so it’s not even Whole Foods-exotic anymore. It cooks in about the same amount of time as white rice and is considerably healthier. While it’s cooking, you have just enough time to sautee the mushrooms, toast the almonds and mix together the dressing. I plan to debut it at my first barbecue of the season which might have to be tomorrow.

Quinoa salad

The quinoa:

2 cups quinoa

1 and a half TBS olive oil (Broening used 1 TBS olive oil and 1/2 TBS butter but I thought it would be healthier w/out the butter)

1/2 onion (I used 3 small shallots)

3 cloves garlic

1 bay leaf

4 cups water

The rest of the salad:

1 pound sliced mushrooms (Broening used shitake but I was fine with plain old Safeway pre-sliced buttons)

1 TBS olive oil

4 TBS soy sauce

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1 bunch scallions

The dressing:

1 TBS olive oil

1 TBS sesame oil

1/2 TBS sherry vinegar

1 tsp chile oil (If you don’t have this, sub in olive oil or more sesame oil plus 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes-or red pepper flakes to taste)

1 TBS soy sauce

Rinse the quinoa unless the package says it’s been pre-rinsed. Chop the onion (or shallot) and the garlic. (I threw them together in the food processor).
Heat olive oil then sautee the onion and the shallot until the onion is soft but not brown. Add the quinoa and stir to coat it with oil and onion. Add the water, a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Here’s where I let the rice cooker work its magic by putting the mixture through one basic (6-minute) cycle. If you don’t have a rice cooker, bring the mixture to a boil, cover, turn the heat down to low and cook 18 minutes. When it’s done, you’re supposed to fluff it then spread it on a baking sheet to cool but I was feeling lazy and just tossed it in a bowl.

The rest of the salad:

Heat a skillet over high heat. Add the almonds. Toast them until they brown watching carefully because they burn easily. Set almonds aside. Add oil to the same skillet. Add mushrooms and soy sauce. Sautee mushrooms about 10 minutes, or until the have lost most of their moisture. Slice the scallions.

The dressing:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir vigorously.

Finishing the dish:

Combine the quinoa with the other ingredients in a big bowl. Mix well. Add the dressing. Mix well once more.

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2 Responses to Quinoa Salad

  1. Amy says:

    this is a case when a picture does not say a 1000 words. The salad sounds good, but the picture, no so much. Hope you are thinking about what you can make during your visit to my house!

  2. hollycooking says:

    You’re right, Amy. I just removed that picture. It looked poopy.

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