Because it's more economical, I buy my whole grains from the local co-op's bulk bins. The downside of this approach is that I accidentally ended up with three pounds of quinoa, which for a family of two is quite a lot. It all started innocently enough. The bulk whole grains are kept in upright bins with little chutes, and you place your container under the chute and pull a lever to release the grains. I started with the wheat berries, carefully holding my cloth bag around the spout and slightly pulling down the lever. Nothing. I moved the lever down a bit more and got a trickle. I pulled it all the way down, and was rewarded with a slow but steady flow of wheat berries. The quinoa was up next, and I decided to save some time and cut straight to the chase by pulling down the lever all the way. There was mighty whoosh of quinoa, and I suddenly had three pounds of the stuff, which set me back $17. Yes, this buying in bulk at the co-op is definitely the frugal option.
So I was stuck with an epic amount of quinoa in my pantry, and only two recipes to use it in (Quinoa Muffins and Quinoa with Sweet Potato and Spinach). Luckily, I have the Internet and a bunch of CSA vegetables. I found a recipe for a quinoa salad on the Real Simple website and adapted it by using the tomato-draining trick from Cook's Country magazine so that my salad was crisp instead of soggy. I brought the salad on a picnic lunch with Mike, who pronounced it the "perfect picnic lunch" and "healthy-tasting". As for me, I really like how well the quinoa soaked up the dressing and complemented the vegetables.
Expect to see many more new quinoa recipes in the future (large amounts of quinoa being the mother of invention), and let me know if you have any favorites to share.
Adapted from the Real Simple recipe by Charlyne Mattox
Serves 2 as a light entree or 4 as a side
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 2 medium tomatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces (about 3 cups)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cucumber, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (about 1 cup; I used two miniature cucumbers equivalent to half a regular sized one)
- 4 cups arugula
Combine quinoa with 1 cup of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer over low heat until water is absorbed and quinoa is light and fluffy, about 20 minutes. Remove quinoa from heat and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, gently toss tomatoes with salt in a large bowl. Place tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with paper towel and allow to drain for at least 20 minutes.
Discard any tomato juice remaining in the bowl. Rinse and dry bowl. Mix the olive oil, vinegar, and pepper in the bowl. Add the cooked quinoa, drained tomatoes, cucumber, and arugula and toss to combine.
Excellent when served as a picnic lunch on the bank of the Mississippi River.