I brought my Toasted Quinoa Salad to a graduation celebration, it was a hit! Something as simple as a salad, using a few fresh ingredients had friends asking me for this recipe. I knew I needed to post this recipe ASAP!
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 to 20 minutes (add 5 minutes cooking time if you’re toasting the quinoa)
Total Time: 25 minutes
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Equipment: 1 (3-quart) saucepot with a tight-fitting glass lid, 1 (1-quart) saucepot, large mixing bowl, mesh sieve, whisk, serving bowl
1 1/2 cups of uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
3 cups of water, HOT (substitute vegetable or chicken broth, unsalted)
1 heaping tablespoon of Kosher salt
1/2 red onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and diced (substitute yellow bell pepper)
2 cups of feta cheese, diced
1 1/2 pints of grape tomatoes, halved
2 cups of a hothouse (English) cucumber, diced
1/4 cup of fresh basil, Chiffonade-style
2 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh Italian Parsley (dried 1 tablespoon)
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
Directions For Toasting And Cooking Quinoa:
Start by rinsing the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve. If you’ve never made quinoa, it’s really easy. First, you always want to do a quick rinse of the quinoa to remove the *saponin. Place quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse under cold water for a few seconds.
In a large heavy-bottom pot over medium-low heat add (or leave) some of the water remaining on the quinoa so that it’s moist. Add the quinoa to the heated pan. Make sure not to overcrowd. Using a whisk, quickly stir the quinoa around allowing any excess water to be absorbed by the grains of quinoa.
Once the water is completely absorbed and the quinoa begins to pop, you’ll know it’s drying out. Continue stirring until the grains of quinoa begin to brown. The aroma will begin to smell nutty, around 5 minutes.
In another saucepot bring the 3 cups of salted water up to a boil. Pour the hot water into the pot containing the quinoa. Give the quinoa a good stir, cover (with the glass lid). With the heat still on medium-low, simmer until all the water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside off the heat for 5 minutes, uncover and fluff with a fork. Allow the quinoa to cool completely.
While the quinoa is cooking (during the 15 to 20 minutes) dice the vegetables and the feta. Zest and juice a lemon. Transfer all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Add in the cooled cooked toasted quinoa, season with salt and pepper. Finish by adding in the chopped basil and parsley and toss. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Before serving, add a light drizzle of really good *E.V.O.O. over the top. There you have it, my Toasted Quinoa Salad.
*E.V.O.O. is an acronym for Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
*Saponin is the outer coating of the quinoa and it can be very bitter. It’s a good idea to rinse the quinoa before cooking.