A summer quinoa salad with tomato, basil and toasted pine nuts

July 13th, 2010

quinoa salad

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.

quinoa salad

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.

quinoa salad

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.

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Posted in Side dishes | 13 Comments »

13 Responses to “A summer quinoa salad with tomato, basil and toasted pine nuts”

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  1. Gorgeous! What a fresh and delicious dish. I make quinoa a lot in the cooler months, but haven’t made it recently. This appears to be the perfect summer side dish–or vegetarian main course–with the basil, tomatoes and crunchy pine nuts! A must try!

    • laura says:

      Thanks, Sommer – your quinoa dishes have looked amazing – part of my inspiration for experimenting! ( :

  2. renae says:

    This sounds wonderful! I recently discovered quinoa too and really love that it takes on whatever flavors you toss it with. I’ll try this one for sure!

  3. redmenace says:

    Quinoa is one of my favorite things in the world. And, so full of protein! I love it. Your salad looks great!

  4. Tracy says:

    I like quinoa very much. Although, we don’t eat it very often. I think you have the perfect summer recipe here.

  5. grace says:

    quinoa’s becoming a staple in my diet–there’s really nothing not to love about it! awesome salad. isn’t it amazing how much those little pine nuts can add in flavor and crunch?

  6. Barbara says:

    I discovered quinoa recently too. And made a salad with it. I really liked it a lot. Will try this quick and easy recipe, Laura.

  7. Heide m. says:

    This recipe looks refreshing!

  8. laura says:

    Thanks everyone for all your comments – they make my day!

  9. Chef Dennis says:

    what a great quinoa salad!! the pine nuts are a nice touch!

  10. Amy says:

    Sounds good! I think feta cheese would be good in this, too. Thanks for posting a recipe for something I won’t feel guilty for trying!

  11. After reading this I must try quinoa. I saw Barbara’s post, too. It looks delicious.

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