Monthly Archives: December 2013

Holiday Quinoa Salad

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I started buying quinoa a couple of years ago, but really haven’t used it very regularly because I didn’t have any recipes I loved, it just seemed kind of bland. That is, until I came across this recipe on Our Best Bites. We had it for Thanksgiving and it would be beautiful for Christmas as well. And the leftovers are wonderful!

The first thing you’ll want to do is cook a cup of quinoa in 2 cups of water, just like rice, so bring to a boil and then let simmer for about 15 minutes or until the water has absorbed. Fluff it with a fork and put it in the fridge to chill for a few minutes so it doesn’t melt your cheese, though I’ve never had a problem with melted cheese but it may not be the texture you’re going for here. You can even make this a day or two or three in advance and just have the quinoa stored in an airtight container in your fridge.

Here is a picture of all the ingredients you’ll need for the salad, minus the dressing. Cooked quinoa, chopped gorgonzola or Feta cheese, craisins, chopped green onions and toasted, chopped walnuts or pecans. You can toast the nuts over medium heat on a skillet, stirring continuously. When they start to smell a little fragrant then they’re done cooking and you’ll want to take them off the heat immediately because from that point they can burn really quickly, not that I’ve done that a few times or anything :). Allow them to cool while you chop up your green onions and gorgonzola cheese. Set aside; I leave them in little bowls or dishes so that it’s really easy and quick to put together once the dressing is made.

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Next we’ll put together our dressing. I measure and mix it in my 2c liquid measuring dish. Measure your orange juice (if you can use fresh squeezed orange juice that’s even better). Add in your olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and optional ground mustard. Whisk together. Combine all the ingredients for your quinoa salad and then drizzle this citrus dressing over top. If you have time, cover it and put it in the fridge for an hour so the flavors have time to mix together.  But if not, that’s fine, I’ve served it without allowing it to sit for very long and it was still yummy.

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The leftovers make a healthy, easy and yummy lunch for the next day…if you have any leftovers :).

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THE RECIPE:

Holiday Quinoa Salad- lightly adapted from Our Best Bites

2 c water

1 c uncooked quinoa

½ c crumbled Gorgonzola or Feta cheese

½ c chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted*

½ c chopped green onions

½ c craisins

Citrus Dressing

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add quinoa and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 15- 20 minutes. Remove from heat, allow to stand 5 minutes and then fluff with fork. Chill. Toss chilled quinoa, gorgonzola, pecans, green onions, and craisins together. Drizzle Citrus Dressing over top and toss quickly to combine. Serve cold.

*To toast chopped nuts, add nuts to a preheated skillet at medium heat and stir around until they get a little fragrant; it’ll be a nutty/toasting smell. They will burn pretty fast if you don’t take them off as soon as they are ready so be sure you stay right there and are stirring continuously.  Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes before handling so you don’t burn your fingers.

Citrus Dressing

¼ c orange juice (freshly squeezed is great)

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

½ tsp sea salt

8 cracks black pepper

1 tsp ground mustard (optional)

Whisk ingredients together and serve over salad. Allow salad to chill with dressing for an hour for optimal flavor.

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