Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

We really do live on a bizarre schedule around here.  After 2 weeks of vacation in the middle of September, we are switching from having Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday as Hubby’s days off, back to Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off.  It’s really no wonder that I have trouble remembering what day of the week it is sometimes.

I suppose it’s a good thing that Rat Boy likes homeschooling, because I’d probably send him to school on Thursday through Sunday some weeks, and Monday through Thursday on others.

I actually tried to take him on Saturday one time when he was younger.  He wouldn’t get out of the car.

But I digress.  And probably will again, possibly in the near future.

Quinoa.  Apparently that’s where it’s at for the pot-smokin’ hippie  healthy foods-oriented crowd.  I’ve tested fed it to Hubby and Rat Boy on several occasions.  I usually throw some frozen veggies in with it, as a half-ass, fast attempt at a pilaf.  They were not impressed.

Quinoa, pronounced “Keen-wah”, is a grain that is not a grain.  I totally understand if it has identity issues.  It is referred to as a pseudocereal, because it is not a member of the grass family like wheat, but instead has relatives like beets and spinach.  And it’s amazingly healthy.  And grainy.  Great substitute for rice (and we are a rice-loving family).

And it’s OLD.  Like older than the Roman Empire, or the Greek, or even the Egyptians!  Quinoa originated in the Andean region, where it was domesticated 3000 to 4000 years ago for human consumption.  There is even evidence that shows an association with pastoral herding 5200 to 7000 years ago.  So much for the world civ lesson.

I recently discovered there are red and black varieties, as well as the white.  Mum, over the weekend, asked me to make a couscous salad for her retired teachers meeting, and because I was feeling persnickity a bit avante guarde, I decided to instead do quinoa.

1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups water cooks just like rice.  Bring to a boil, then simmer on low 20 minutes.  Cooking times are longer for the red and black varieties, as are the cooking times for more whole hulled rices.

Cool…overnight if possible, then add cherry tomatoes, cucumber, kalamata olives, and feta cheese.  Amounts of course will vary, depending on how much you’d like to make.  I started with 4 cups of red quinoa to 8 cups of water.  I made a LOT of quinoa.  WAY more than I’d intended.  But no worries.  It even freezes well!

Isn’t it pretty?

Toss everything together with a drizzle of olive oil…I used a roasted garlic infused variety that I put on everything I possibly can.  Did I mention that I really like garlic? Oh yeah, and juice from about 2/3 of a lemon.  I used Meyer, but can’t always get them, so I’m sure a ‘normal’ lemon would be fine too.

I added some chopped fresh oregano to the first batch, then basil…yes, it’s still going strong out on the porch…to the second.  And some mint.  Because Mediterranean dishes use mint.  Just believe it.

It really is pretty.  Colorful.  Tastes fabulous.  Healthy.  Can you possibly ask for more?

Oh yeah, easy to make also.

Kitchen Kat expressed his approval by nomming on my leg while I was doing the washing up.

I can’t believe how huge his claws look.  😛  And how bad my kitchen rug looks.  I should be totally embarrassed now.  But it’s been a long day.  I’ll work on that tomorrow.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. QueenBee
    Sep 28, 2011 @ 13:31:34

    We are big quinoa fans at our house. Actually tried another “ancient grain” last night… Farro. Mixed with roasted butternut squash and red onions, toasted walnuts, olive oil, balamic vinegar and feta cheese…. TO DIE FOR!

    Reply

  2. LC Aggie Sith
    Sep 28, 2011 @ 19:05:01

    You’ll have to make it when you visit. But a small batch, since SOME people are picky 😉

    Reply

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