Back from a trip to Chile, where I was introduced to several delicious quinoa salads, it was a surprise to learn there are hundreds of different types of quinoas.
The most common ones are white, red and black. With these flavors in mind, I created a quick vegetarian salad for a summer dinner.
Quinoa is an ancient grain originating in the mountains of Bolivia, Chile and Peru. It’s also considered a complete protein, which means it contains all nine of the essential amino acids.
Quinoa needs to cook for about 15 minutes. Start it cooking first or, to shorten time, buy frozen quinoa. It takes only 5 minutes to cook.
• You can use plain or multicolored quinoa.
• Place quinoa on stovetop to cook.
• Prepare remaining ingredients.
To buy: One package quinoa (multi color if available), one bottle dried oregano, one bottle reduced-fat oil and vinegar dressing, one bottle honey, one cucumber, one large red bell pepper, one container cherry tomatoes, one container pitted black olives, one bag spinach and one can reduced-sodium chickpeas.
Staples: Salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Yield: 2 servings.
cup quinoa2 cups water1 tablespoon dried oregano½ cup reduced-fat oil and vinegar dressing1 tablespoon honey1 cup cucumber cubes, about ½ inch1 cup red bell pepper cubes, about ½ inch1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half½ cup pitted black olives1 cup fresh spinach leaves1 cup canned reduced-sodium chickpeas, rinsed and drainedSalt and freshly ground black pepper
Place quinoa in a sieve or colander with small holes. Rinse under cold water. Add quinoa, 2 cups water and oregano to a saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes. Fluff up with a fork.
Add the salad dressing and honey to a large bowl and mix together. Add the cooked quinoa and mix with the dressing. Mix in the remaining ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste and toss well.