Wednesday, April 8, 2009

orange quinoa with black beans and cilantro, spring salad with grapefruit shallot vinaigrette

Whole grains are awesome. Beans are great. Strawberry season makes life worth living. It is getting warmer outside (although not today in S.F.) and that means it's time for cold picnic salads to eat at... well, a picnic!

These two recipes use eight different ingredients from the box! Eight!!!

2 cups quinoa
4 cups water
3/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 can black beans, rinsed well and drained
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, tightly packed (1/2 of a bunch)
1 piece of green garlic, green parts only, sliced on a 1/2" bias (You could also use a green onion.)
2 tsp smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste

Rinse and drain your quinoa several times with cold water. Quinoa has natural tannins (bitter compounds, like those in tea) that coat its exterior and you really don't want them hanging around. Add the quinoa and 4 cups of water to a pot, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. When the quinoa has finished cooking (no more water in the bottom), fluff it with a fork and set it aside to cool for at least ten minutes. You could totally do this a day or two in advance, just make sure its tightly covered in the refrigerator during storage. Toss the black beans, cilantro, and green garlic into the quinoa. Mix the citrus juices together with the smoked paprika and add to the rest of the dish. Toss together and season with salt and pepper. This dish has a ton of veggie protein, is super low fat, high in fiber, and not to forget- refreshingly good!

Stop. Salad time!

Spring salad:
1/2 lb mixed baby greens
1 apple, sliced
4 big strawberries, sliced
4 red radishes, sliced

Grapefruit shallot vinaigrette:
3 Tbsp Olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp red or pink grapefruit juice (these are the sweet ones, not the sour ones)
1 shallot, finely minced
salt and pepper to taste

In a dressing shaker (what we refer to as a dressing shaker or container is actually an old glass peanut butter or Veganaise jar) combine the grapefruit juice, shallots, olive oil, some salt and pepper. Shake it like you mean it, taste, adjust your seasonings. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, add dressing, toss and eat!

I have to admit that I was skeptical about this salad dressing at first, although I didn't let Katie know that. However, once I tasted it- oh my god, was I wrong! It was crisp, sweet, tangy, and just really made all of the ingredients in the salad mesh together so well. We will totally be making this again.


  1. Do you have a special trick for rinsing the quinoa... or do you have a collander with really small holes?!!

  2. So funny you ask, because just yesterday my sister-in-law was telling me she made quinoa and had struggled with her colander.

    We have a set of these fine mesh strainers from Bed Bath & Beyond:

  3. Ah, I think I will need a fine mesh strainer for next time. In the meantime...
    I substituted cilantro with Italian parsley and green garlic with leeks... bad idea. My family told me with their eyes that they could not handle a third night of leftovers, so I had to come up with something.
    I squished all the quinoa that was left into the bottom of a casserole dish, sprinkled goat cheese on top, poured on top of that a mixture of 3 eggs, 1 c. milk (didn't have cream), and freshly grated nutmeg. Baked it at 350 for about 30 minutes. Yum. But, I really love the taste of baked leeks!

  4. That sounds soooo good. I'm all about eggs, all the time! In the words of Anthony Bourdain, "I'm a total egg slut."