I don’t know that I’ll ever get tired of eating quinoa, but I do know this: right now, I could eat it all the time! I’ve come to appreciate quinoa not just for its myriad nutritional benefits (it’s a fantastic source of protein, iron, and potassium, just to name a few), but also because there’s no shortage of ways to incorporate quinoa into a dish and end up with a deliciously healthy meal. I’ve finally gotten to the point where I feel more comfortable experimenting in the kitchen and these experiments are not always successful–in fact, some are horrible failures–but I’ve found that it’s almost impossible to botch a quinoa recipe.
When it came time to make dinner last night I had a few ingredients on hand that I knew I wanted to use: arugula, quinoa and a pear. From there, I just started tossing together other ingredients, tasting as I went along, and basically crossed my fingers and hoped that the dish wouldn’t be a complete disaster.
Not only was the dish not a disaster, it was amazing! There was a slight sweetness to the dish, but it was certainly not overly sweet. And the warming flavors of the cinnamon, almonds and quinoa complemented the cooling flavors of the celery, pear and arugula perfectly!
I would never create a bad dish on purpose, but I’m beginning to wonder if it’s even possible to come up with a bad quinoa recipe….
- ¾ cup quinoa, soaked overnight, rinsed, and drained
- 1½ cups water
- 4 cups arugula, washed, dried and roughly chopped or torn
- 1 D’Anjou pear, thinly sliced
- ½ cup celery, thinly sliced
- ⅓ cup red onion, diced
- ½ cup dried cranberries (I used apple juice sweetened cranberries)
- ¼ cup almonds, roughly chopped
- ¼ tsp. salt
- pepper, to taste
- ¼ cups flax oil (or olive oil)
- 2 Tbs. lemon juice (approx. one lemon)
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- To cook the quinoa, bring the water to a boil in a small to medium-sized sauce pan. Once the water begins to boil, turn the heat down to low and add the quinoa. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes. I know it’s hard but try not to peek. Check after 15 minutes to see if the water has been absorbed. Once it has, re-cover the pan and remove from heat. It’s best to let the quinoa sit for at least 5 minutes to allow it to really fluff. At this point, you may want to put the quinoa in the fridge to allow it to cool down a bit.
- While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the other ingredients. Toss the ingredients into a large bowl as you go.
- When the quinoa has cooled down to about room temperature, add it to the bowl with the other ingredients.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flax oil, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Add the dressing to the salad ingredients and mix well until everything has been coated with the dressing.
- Serve and enjoy!