July 13th, 2010
While I am not gluten intolerant, I do love experimenting with different grains from around the globe that have been used for centuries to create many traditional ethnic foods, and which oftentimes are also incredibly high in nutritive value.
Quinoa is no exception in this category. Used for thousands of years in South America, it is high in protein, essential amino acids, dietary fiber, and multiple vitamins and minerals (not a quinoa ad, just wiki info I like to research when working with new ingredients).
So, for me at least, gluten free cooking is often about discovery, nutrition, and curiosity as much as anything else.
I’ve been tinkering with quinoa flour for some time now, but have only recently begun experimenting with the whole quinoa grain. At first I was surprised by it’s petite size and nutty flavor and can imagine it easily substituted in many couscous and bulgar based recipes.
I am often searching for quick, tasty meals to make myself for lunch as I work from home, and I pulled this “salad” together on a whim last week in the middle of the day, and was pleased with the result.
I tossed the quinoa with a bit of olive oil, fresh grates of parmesan, torn basil leaves, slices of roma tomatoes (from our garden – finally!), toasted pine nuts, and finished it with a squeeze of lemon juice and cracks of sea salt and black pepper. It was lovely just like this, but I also think some lumps of fresh mozzarella would be at home here.
I ate it at room temperature, but found the leftovers even better the next day, cold, straight out of the fridge.
Summer quinoa salad with tomato, basil and toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup loosely packed freshly grated parmesan (and/or fresh mozzarella, cubed)
10 basil leaves, torn
2 roma/plum tomatoes cut into 1/4 inch rounds
1 squeeze of fresh lemon juice (1 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Cook quinoa according to package directions (1/2 cup took 1 1/4 cup water for cooking for me). Toss with the olive oil and cool to room temperature (may place in fridge or freezer for a few minutes to achieve this quickly). Toss quinoa with the rest of the ingredients, adding salt and pepper to taste. Makes one meal serving, or 2-3 side servings. Scale as desired. Serve at room temperature or cold.