Quinoa, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…
- You have an unusually high protein content, with 24 grams in one uncooked cup.
- Almost 20 percent of your nutritional composition is protein as compared to 7.5 percent for rice, 9.9 percent for millet, and 14 percent for wheat.
- You are a complete protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids.
- You are a good source of fiber, manganese, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorous.
- You are easy to digest and gluten-free.
- You take less than 20 minutes to cook.
- You come in a variety of colors, including white, red, and black.
- You are delicious, light, and nutty.
- Even the United Nations named you a “Super Crop.”
- You taste great as the base for any salad….
Black Quinoa Salad with Apples, Walnuts, and Dried Cherries
* Be sure to wash your quinoa well, as its natural saponin coating is quite bitter, and is not always fully removed during processing.
- 1 ½ cups black quinoa
- Sea salt
- 6 oz. baby arugula, (about 4 cups)
- 3 medium celery stalks, thinly sliced
- 1 large, crisp apple, such as Fuji or Pink Lady, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
- ½ cup finely diced fennel
- ¾ cup dried cherries
- 1 large avocado, pitted, peeled, and cut into ½ inch chinks
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey*
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Rinse quinoa with water through a fine mesh strainer. Drain well and transfer to a medium saucepan. Add 2-1/2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until the quinoa is tender but still crunchy, about 15 minutes.
Drain the quinoa if necessary and return it to the pot. Cover and let the quinoa rest for 5 minutes; then fluff it with a fork. Let cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl, mix the quinoa, arugula, celery, apple, parsley, walnuts, fennel, avocado and cherries.
In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar, honey, mustard, pinch of sea salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Slowly whisk in the oil. Add dressing to the salad and gently mix it in. Let rest a moment; then season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed.
~ You can rub the diced apple and avocados with lemon juice to prevent oxidation if not serving right away.
* Use light agave nectar instead of honey for a vegan option.