Monday, March 28, 2011

Quinoa Salad with Pistachios and Cranberries with Sherry Vinaigrette

Quinoa is a grain originally from Peru that has a very high protein content. It is also delicious. This red one is from the Rancho Gordo folks in Napa, California who produce so many outstanding dried beans.

1/3 cup pistachios or slivered almonds
1 cup quinoa (red from Rancho Gordo or regular)
1½ cups water, heated in the microwave
1 teaspoon salt
2 stalks celery, cut in half lengthwise and sliced
3 scallions, sliced, including some of the green part
¼ cup dried cranberries, chop coarsely if they are big, use more if you'd like
1 recipe Sherry Vinaigrette, see recipe below

1. Arrange the pistachios or almonds in a single layer in a small pan and toast at 350ºF until lightly browned, about 5 minutes or less. Let them cool to room temperature and chop coarsely.
2. Toast the quinoa in a medium skillet or pottery skillet over low heat, shaking the pan occasionally until it lightly browns, about 5 minutes or longer. It will take a little longer in the pottery skillet, keeping it on low heat. Add the water and salt, cover and bring to a simmer. Cook until the quinoa is soft but still has a little bite, about 15 minutes. The water should be gone.
3. Let it cool. Add the nuts, celery, scallions, and cranberries and toss.
4. Dress with Sherry Vinaigrette. Check for salt, adding more if required.
5. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.

4 servings
Adapted from Fran Gage’s The New American Olive Oil

Sherry Vinaigrette

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil

Mix the vinegar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking with a fork to mix. Taste for seasoning and adjust.

If you are using this for a regular salad, you can add 2 teaspoons minced shallots or green onions. The Quinoa Salad already has green onions in it so these are shallots are not necessary.

Adapted from Fran Gage’s The New American Olive Oil

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