Saturday, April 7, 2012

Lisa: Quinoa Salad

I love quinoa, and have been wanting to try a quinoa salad recipe. The opportunity came this week, when it was my turn to bring snack for the parents at preschool. Lots of chopping involved, but results were worthwhile. I'd make it again.

The tastiest parts to me were the balsamic vinegar red onions, apples and cheese. The fennel and celery add additional crunch. So fun to cook with fennel. It's a rarity for me. The kids enjoyed trying it for the first time, too.

It tasted even better to me after a day or two of letting the flavors soak in and mingle in the refrigerator. And no problems with wilting; everything keeps nicely.

Substitutions (suggested by the friend who passed on the recipe):
-Spinach instead of arugula
-Red wine vinegar instead of sherry vinegar
-I chose Pink Lady apples, and loved the tart-sweet flavor
Also, I wanted to use Parrano cheese instead of Gouda, but didn't find any at the store

For the quinoa, I used organic tri-color from Trader Joe's, and cooked it in the rice cooker instead of on the stovetop.

I set aside a small amount of salad without the balsamic vinegar red onions or red wine vinegar (for those with dietary restrictions prohibiting alcohol), and I actually ended up really liking that version, too. It's less tangy without the vinegar, so it's a milder combo of veggie flavors, olive oil, salt and pepper. If I were short on time, I might make that one, since it would cut the step of cooking the red onions.

Bonus - my 6-year-old even ate some as a side for her dinner.

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