Quinoa was a staple food among the Incans of South America. It's a complete protein, making it especially useful for vegetarians with wheat allergies or celiac disease. Quinoa grains are naturally coated with a bitter compound called saponin. While quinoa in the United States is often sold with the saponin removed, I always rinse it before cooking to remove any possible remaining traces. I have included dried mustard as an emulsifier to hold the vinaigrette together, but feel free to leave it out; it won't affect the flavor.
Cooking time for this recipe is quick, but be sure to leave at least an hour to chill.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
- 2 c water or vegetable broth
- 1 c quinoa
- 2 shallots
- 2 small or 1 large cucumber
- 1 T fresh parsley
- 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 T raspberry vinegar
- 1 tsp dried mustard
- salt and pepper
- In a medium saucepan, bring water or vegetable broth to a boil. While liquid is heating, rinse quinoa in a mesh strainer or chinois several times to remove any traces of saponin. (If you don't have a fine enough strainer to rinse your quinoa, line a small colander with cheesecloth or a coffee filter.)
- When liquid has come to a boil, add quinoa, stirring constantly. Immediately reduce to a bare simmer and cover. Cook for 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender and almost all the liquid is absorbed. Remove quinoa from heat, stir, and let quinoa sit, uncovered, for about five minutes.
- While quinoa is cooking, peel and finely mince the shallots. If cucumbers are covered with wax, peel; if not, you may peel or not as you prefer. Seed and dice cucumbers. Finely mince parsley.
- In a small bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar, and mustard, stirring rapidly until dressing is blended. Combine quinoa, vegetables, and dressing. Chill all ingredients in refrigerator for at least one hour (overnight is ideal). Serve cold.
Serves four as a main dish, or eight as an appetizer salad.