Make dinner tonight, inspired!

Wondering what to make for dinner tonight? This is your place for quick and healthy meal inspirations. Here you'll find recipes for seasonally focused dinners, desserts, breakfasts, and everything in between.

My cooking focuses on the freshest ingredients prepared in a simple and careful way, to highlight their uniqueness. My own diet is primarily vegetarian, but does include sustainable fish and seafood, and is gluten free.

Thank you for reading. I look forward to sharing some of my favorite recipes with you!

26 January 2010

Quinoa & Avocado Salad with Dried Fruit, Toasted Almonds, and Lemon-Cumin Vinaigrette

You may have gathered that I really like quinoa. In case you're unfamiliar, it is a South American ancient grain once known as 'the mother of all grains' and is considered to be a 'complete protein'. That means that unlike beans or soy, quinoa contains all the essential amino acids we need for our general well being and for the growth and maintenance of our body's tissues.

Okay, so it's good for you.... more importantly though, it tastes delicious. It's quick cooking and is incredibly versatile. I use it in place of rice or couscous in many dishes as I'm quite fond of its crunchiness. It's pretty easy to find these days in most bulk sections. Do give it a try, I think it may just become a staple of your pantry too.

Yields about 5 cups

1 cup dry red or white Quinoa, rinsed well
3 TB golden raisins
2 TB dried apricots, thinly sliced
Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
3 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 tsp ground Coriander
1/4 tsp ground Cumin
1/4 tsp sweet Paprika
1/4 tsp ground Fennel Seed
1/4 cup chopped Italian Parsley
1 scallion, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
2 medium firm yet ripe Haas Avocados, pitted, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
3 TB toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

1) In a medium bowl, soak the golden raisins and apricots for 5 minutes to plump. Drain and set aside.

2) In a 2-quart saucepan, bring 2 cups water, the quinoa, and 1/2 tsp salt to a boil over high heat. Partially cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Continue simmering until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender but crunchy, about 10-15 minutes. Immediately fluff the quinoa with a fork and turn set aside to cool.

3) Finely grate the lemon zest and squeeze juice into a large bowl. Whisk in the Olive Oil, Coriander, Cumin, Fennel Seed, Paprika, salt & pepper. Put the quinoa into the bowl and  
toss to coat well with the dressing. Add in the raisins, apricots, almonds, parsley, scallions, and avocado. Toss gently to combine. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

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