It’s pronounced keen-wah (Lemon Herb Rainbow Quinoa Salad)

skipaheadWe’ve been eating pretty unhealthy around here. Or at least my recipe feed would have you think so. So I figured it’s high time we bust out a healthy recipe. Plus, I haven’t had many vegetarian recipes and no vegan recipes yet! (Sorry Jenny! Your potato soup recipe is still in the queue though!) So we’re busting out of our “meat, potatoes, pasta, and chocolate chip” funk today with a quinoa recipe. I have only had quinoa a couple of times and I’ve never prepared it myself. It’s one of those foods that scare me, simply because I don’t know what it is exactly or where to buy it or how to prepare it. And I know my mom is reading this now saying, “Qw-in-o-ah? What the heck is that?” So, here is a great infographic to help you, Mom!

I can summarize though: We should all be eating more “keen-wah.” Get started with this recipe. It’s easy and yummy and fast.

Lemon Herb Rainbow Quinoa Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts

Overall: three-star

We loved this salad. Light and fresh and easy to make. But it was expensive, man. E was trying to dissuade me from thinking it was expensive, so maybe I’m a cheapskate, but I had to spend $10 on the quinoa alone. Mint and pine nuts aren’t cheap either. (Recipe here, from Simply Scratch.)

Ease to Prepare: five-star

I used to think rice was a pain to prepare. I almost always ended up with it scalded on to the bottom of my pan. But then I realized it’s one of the easiest things to make if you follow the directions. Put the rice in a pot with the broth, cover it, bring it to a low boil and then turn the heat down and leave the lid on for several minutes while the rice absorbs the liquid. Don’t peek at it very often and don’t stir it. You can fluff it with a fork after 5 minutes or so, but there is no need to go crazy scraping or stirring the pot. Once that’s done you’re home free – throw in the pine nuts, mint, lemon, oil and diced garlic (if you’re like me and don’t have anything as fancy as garlic infused oil).

Instructions: four-star

Very thorough. She uses a rice cooker, but explains that you can just follow the instructions on the rice package if you don’t have one. She also explains how to toast pine nuts, what to do if you don’t have garlic olive oil, and that it’s important to rinse the quinoa. Plus, pictures. Awesome pictures with each step. Oh, and I love her recipe outline at the bottom. Yield, prep time, cook time, total time. These are things a girl needs to know!!

The one problem I had is that this recipe calls for rainbow quinoa. I couldn’t find that and ended up buying red and traditional and mixing the two. You could get away with just doing the one color, but the presentation wouldn’t be the same. I wish the recipe addressed either where to find rainbow quinoa or what the recommended substitute could be.

Food: four-star

This is such a fresh and light dish. You know you’re doing something good for your body when you’re eating it. The flavor isn’t going to knock your socks off, it’s very subtle lemon and a hit of nuttiness every time you get a pine nut. The mint is almost lost, it’s a back of the room flavor that you only notice when you stop and take note. I love it! I served it with some soup and savory scones (recipe forthcoming!).

Clean up: five-star

I can’t think of anything to complain about here. You have a easy-to-clean-up pot (that is if you followed the rice making directions and didn’t have your heat too high) and a cutting board and knife to clean. What more can you ask for?!

Cost: three dollar

Alright boys and girls, this is where things take a turn. This isn’t something you’re going to buy with the pennies in your pocket. It took me ten minutes to even find the quinoa in my grocery store. It was in the natural food aisle; you know, next to gluten-free and soy food. Not an area I frequent much. There were two boxes to choose from. One was Inca Red quinoa and the other was traditional. The red was $7 and the traditional was $3. I bought both since the recipe called for “rainbow” quinoa. I think you could have gotten away with only the traditional, but the color and presentation would have taken a major hit. The recipe also calls for pine nuts which are sometimes hard to find in my grocery store. I don’t know why, but E and I always have trouble. I think they move around depending on the day of the week. Sometimes by salad dressing, sometimes by the bulk nuts, sometimes by bagged nuts, sometimes by produce… Either way, they’re pretty expensive for the amount you get. This recipe doesn’t call for much, but it still seems like you’re working with gold bullion when you’re cooking pine nuts. I accidentally dropped one and Waldo the dog gobbled it up and started speaking with a french accent.

Ah, le pine nut, me amore!

Have you ever cooked with quinoa before? Is my grocery store the Bermuda triangle of  pine nuts and quinoa or does your store hide them too?


2 responses

  1. YUM! I love quinoa! At my dirty hippie grocery store (and maybe possibly at the regular store?) you can buy it from the bulk bin. As far as I am concerned the color doesn’t matter bc they all taste the same. Here is my favorite thing to do with quinoa- cook it with some veg broth, cumin, and chili powder. Once it cools mix it with cowboy cavier (i usually but it from cub bc i am too lazy to the cut all the peppers, corn etc myself), cilantro, black beans, and lemon or lime juice. Serve with scoops. Delicious!

    • I didn’t even think about looking in the bulk bins. I’ll check that out next time! I’ll try out that quinoa salad, anything with cilantro makes me happy. Plus, it sounds like summer with all the veggies and citrus. Yum.

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