Orange vinaigrette and warm quinoa salad
You'll have to excuse me for yet another brief absence. Hopefully, these two recipes will make up for it. They're a nice two recipes for getting into the Spring menu, with more fresh foods available.
The dressing is very low fat and unreasonably simple to make. It goes well in the quinoa salad below, but is also a nice all-purpose dressing. Since it's lower in oil than your average vinaigrette, it helps take the fat and salt out of salads, making them both healthy and delicious. Not many salad dressings can boast this, since most of them are about two-thirds oil, while this one is around one-third.
As for the warm salad recipe that follows, it’s meant as an easy and delicious introduction to quinoa. Aside from soy, you will not find many (if any) non-animal-sourced foods which offer a complete set of essential amino acids. Quinoa is unique among grains as a source of complete protein. It’s a good substitute for couscous, since it is similar in both size and texture, with a mild, almost nutty flavor. The salad is meant as a take on a Mediterranean cous cous salad, with quinoa replacing the cous cous.
Juice of 1 large orange
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
about 2-4 tablespoons oil (canola, grapeseed, or some other neutral oil)
pinch each salt and pepper
1) Combine all ingredients. The quantity of oil is vague because I usually just eyeball it to be around, or just under, half as much oil as orange juice and balsamic. In other words, aim for roughly 2 parts orange-balsamic mixture to one part oil. My favorite method for mixing them is to put everything into a well-sealed container (and I mean very well-sealed), clamp on the lid, and shake it vigorously until it’s emulsified. You could also do it in a blender, but my way is easier if you have a container with a reliable seal. A third option is to put everything but the oil into a bowl and whisk to combine. Continue whisking constantly as you drizzle in the oil slowly enough that it emulsifies.
Warm Quinoa Salad
1 ½ cups cooked quinoa
¼ to 1/3 cup each diced red pepper, zucchini, cucumber, tomato, and red onion
½ carrot, shredded
1 tomato, diced
Orange Vinaigrette to taste
hemp hearts and grated feta to garnish
1) combine everything but the feta and hemp hearts (these are optional as a garnish), reserving one half of the tomato. Lightly mix them with a spoon, careful not to mash the quinoa. To serve, place into a pan over medium-low heat and simply warm until it is very lightly steaming. Plate while warm and garnish with feta, hemp hearts and remaining tomato. If desired, you could also garnish with some chopped parsley. Enjoy.