Saturday, July 23, 2011

quinoa salad with radishes and snow peas

Things I love about summer:

Walking bearfoot in the grass. Drinking iced tea. White wine, sangria, cold beer and mojitos.  Sitting on the stoop. Fire pits. Farmers markets. Sandles.  Swimming in lakes. Minimal clothing.  Not having to wait 30 minutes to warm up my car. Longer days. Ice cream. Sunskissed skin. Walks with the dogs in the park. Canoeing. Swimming. And.... meals like this. 

Unfortunately the last few days have felt less like summer and more like hell (literally).  Temperatures have been creeping into the upper 90's and most of my free time has been spent sitting in my air conditioned apartment.  My appetite has been waning due to the heat and I am having little motivation to do anything with my oven. But.... a sistas gotta eat!

I broke out the quinoa, since it only takes 15-20 minutes to cook.

Quinoa  (keen-wa) is an amino acid rich seed that has a fluffy, nutty texture when cooked.  It's gluten free, super duper high in protein and is a complete protein as well (contains all 9 essenial amino acids). It's also a great source of fiber, manganese, iron and phosphorus. Holla!

Quinoa in it's natural state contains has a bitter coating of saponins which can make it taste icky. Give it a rinse in a fine mesh strainer before you cook it and you are good to go.

I make salads with quinoa as a base all the time.  I had some veggies and herbs left over from the farmers market so I chopped them up while the quinoa was cooking.

Quinoa with radishes and snow peas (serves 2-4)

2/3 c. quinoa
1 c. snowpeas, sliced on a diagonal
3/4 c. radishes, sliced
1/4 c. fresh mint, chopped
3 scallions, sliced
1/4 c. parsley, chopped
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/4 t. cracked black pepper
1/4-1/2 t. salt
2 T. olive oil
1/2 c. feta cheese

Bring 1 1/3 c water and a pinch of salt to a boil. Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer.  Add to water, cover and reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 15-20 minutes until the water is absorbed.  Remove from heat and let sit covered for 10 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl, and allow to cool to room temperature.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well to combine.
Serve over some lightly dressed salad greens or eat as is.


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