We love quinoa here. It’s a protein-packed powerhouse of a plant, tastes amazing when toasted and cooked in my homemade chicken stock, and is relatively inexpensive. By “inexpensive,” I don’t mean “as cheap as beans and rice” for supper, but on a relative scale, for something that’s organic, pre-washed, comes from another part of the world, and is as nutritionally dense as it is, it’s inexpensive. I think our Costco sells a 2 pound bag for about $11. That’s a lot of storable protein (it’s dry and easy to put in our food storage) for not a lot of money.
Our neighbourhood has an email list that is a bevy of useful information. Sometimes with swap/share posts, sometimes with local events, and sometimes with recipes. So when one of the members put out a call for recipes using quinoa, many responded with ideas. One of those ideas is what I ended up serving for supper tonight. Truth be told, it was on the docket for last week, but it got shuffled to this week when my husband and I ended up with an unplanned dinner-date.
Brendan isn’t a huge fan of quinoa. I can’t figure out why, but as I answered questions about what was in the dinner menu for the week, he began to look forward to it. He wasn’t 100% certain about the marinated artichoke hearts, but truth be told, neither was I. 😉
We ended up scarfing this meal, uncharacteristically so, between a dance lesson and a Scouting meeting. But the overwhelming response was, “Ohhhhh…. this is GOOD!”
Mediterranean quinoa salad
- 4 c chicken stock
- 1 1/2 c quinoa, uncooked
- 1/4 c raw apple cider vinegar (ACV)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- juice from one lemon
- 3 T extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 c kalamata olives, sliced
- 2/3 c fresh cilantro OR parsley, chopped
- 1 c cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (I used a large organic heirloom tomato, instead)
- 1/2 c chopped artichoke hearts (feel free to use more – I wish I had!)
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1/2 c crumbled feta cheese
[This first step is optional, but increases the taste-factor of the quinoa by about 100. So do it anyhow. It’s worth the effort. Place the quinoa in a dry skillet over medium heat and gently stir and toast the little seeds until they are a light golden brown colour. Some of mine got dark brown and “popped” while doing this step – that’s okay. After the quinoa is toasted, proceed with the rest of the instructions.]
Cook the quinoa in chicken broth in a medium pot. Bring it to a rolling boil, then turn it down to medium, and put a lid on. After 20 minutes, turn the heat off and permit the quinoa to continue absorbing liquid, if necessary. Cool cooked quinoa completely (2 hours in the fridge was sufficient for my batch).
In a large mixing bowl, combine the ACV, garlic cloves, lemon juice (I used a large lemon), and the olive oil. Whisk vigorously until all is combined. Add in drained kalamata olive slices, cilantro (or, in case you’re a ‘cilantro-hater’, parsley), tomato dices, artichoke hearts, and feta. I gave up on the whisk at this point and went straight for a spatula. I seasoned this mixture first, somewhat heavily, as I knew the quinoa was somewhat bland and brought a less-seasoned taste to the party than I wanted. So my usual suspect of Redmond Real Salt went in the bowl, as well as multiple grinds of fresh pepper. Chill completely.
Combine the quinoa and the flavourful bowl of goodies and mix well (but gently, due to the fragile nature of the feta) and serve it up. Good as a side dish; better as a main dish.
Καλή όρεξη! target=”_blank” (Kalí óreksi!) [bon appetit in Greek]