Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Quinoa and Roasted Vegetables Salad

Quinoa is a delicious and wonderful grain from South America. It has been relatively unknown until recent years. Not only has it become very popular here in the US, it is now also available in many other parts of the world including Asia. Restaurants from fine dining and casual family chain to fast food joints are starting to introduce quinoa on their menu is one way or another. The other day, my boyfriend and I were at the Cheesecake Factory for a very late night snack and guess what we got! A kale and quinoa salad! See what I mean....

Quinoa is the only plant-based food that provides a complete source of protein (i.e. all 9 amino acids). Since going onto a primarily plant-based diet, quinoa has become one of my key sources of healthy plant-based protein besides tofu.

This dish is nutritionally complete as a meal on its own. The sweetness from the honey complements the slight tang from the spicy mustard perfectly. Yummy both warm and chilled, this is the perfect dish to make in a larger quantity for dinner with leftovers to pack for a healthy lunch the next day.

Preparation time : 30 minutes
Cooking time : 30-40 minutes

Yield : Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients (Salad):
1.   1.5 cups uncooked quinoa
2.      4 cups cucumber, skin on, 1-inch dice
3.      3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
4.      2 cups rainbow carrots, 1-inch dice
5.      1 cup yellow bell pepper, 1-inch dice
6.      1 cup edamame beans, cooked till tender
7.      0.5 cups dried cranberries, rough chopped
8.      0.5 cups slivered almonds
9.      0.25 cups oregano, basil and sage, fine chopped

Ingredients (dressing):
1.      0.25 cups fresh lime juice
2.      3 tablespoons honey
3.      1 teaspoon mustard
4.      1 cup olive oil
5.    1 whole head fresh garlic (roasted in oven for about 45 mins in foil, then mashed)
6.      1.5  teaspoon salt
7.      1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1.    Preheat oven to 475F to roast garlic. While oven is preheating, cut off the top of a whole head of garlic, drizzle in a little olive oil and wrap in aluminum foil. Roast for about 45 minutes.
2.    Next cook quinoa. Bring to boil 3 cups of water and quinoa. Then reduce heat to low and simmer covered for about 15 to 20 minutes until all water has been absorbed. Then remove from heat and let sit covered for another 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
3.    While quinoa is cooking, prepare other vegetables – cucumber, tomatoes, carrots and bell pepper.
4.    Lay vegetables (ingredients 2 to 5) on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Season with a little salt and pepper and olive oil and roast in oven for 30 minutes. You can place it in the same oven as the garlic. There should be more than 30 minutes left on the clock for the garlic.
5.    Now make dressing. Whisk all ingredients in a mixing bowl until well combined and a temporary emulsion forms. Set dressing aside.
6.    Transfer quinoa to a large mixing bowl. Then add cooked edamame beans, slivered almonds and cranberries.
7.    Remove roasted vegetables and garlic from oven and let cool for about 10-15 minutes.
8.    Then add roasted vegetables to quinoa and mix well to combine. Add roasted garlic to dressing and whisk well to combine.
9.    Then add dressing and chopped herbs to quinoa salad and toss well to combine.

No comments: