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25 Jan 2010 - 16:25
15 Jan 2010 - 18:53
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quinoa dressed in pink

quinoa salad with beets, apples, hazelnuts

Friday, 19 Mar 2010
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I've been thinking about posting this since Valentine's Day-- you know, because it's pink...but then, yea, it's pink and how ridiculous to match your food to Hallmark, right?  Pink or not, it's a bright mix of flavors headlined by an ingredient I evangelize to any unfortunate soul who happens to wonder about my favorite foods.  Quinoa.  Is it a grain? Is it a seed? Is it a cereal? It's about time I gave a little attention here to this super-hero pseudocereal that is more closely related to spinach, swiss chard, and beets than to rice or wheat berries.  I love the taste and versatility of quinoa, but it's prized at Casa Hungry Burro for it's nutritional profile.  Rare to this type of mouth-feel foods (tasty starchy side dishes like rice), it is high in complete protein containing a balanced set of essential amino acids.  

Quinoa comes in a variety of colors that as far as I know don't affect its nutritional profile but do have a crunchiness impact.  I usually prefer the red or black quinoa because it cooks to a crunchier texture and I happen to like that.  (NYCers: you can find quinoa in all its colors at Kalustyan's.)  However, in this recipe I went with white quinoa because I was feeling very girly and wanted it pretty in pink.  The beets bleed as if with the most intensely broken hearts, imparting a delightfully playful tint to the dish.    The green apple adds a bit of tart, the hazelnuts a bit of earth, and the herbs a bit of spring.

quinoa dressed in pink

1c quinoa
1.5c water
a green apple
a medium beet
a good handful of hazelnuts (about 25 or so)
a lime
walnut oil (if you don't have any, substitute with a good gentle olive oil)
fine sea salt
a few sprigs of chervil, tarragon and dill (or whatever fresh zesty herbs you have on hand)

Pre-heat your oven to 400°F.  As your oven is heating up, slip the hazelnuts in for a quick roasting.  It should take about 15 minutes.  Just keep your eye and nose on the lookout to make sure they don't burn.  While the hazelnuts are developing their flavor, wash your beet and trim off any errants leaves or roots.  Once the hazelnuts are done take them out of the oven and set aside.

Wrap the beet in foil and pop it into the oven for about 45 minutes, or until it can be easily pierced with a knife.  You might want to take advantage of the heated oven to roast a few extra beets for later use.  Once the beet is cooked, the skin will slip off easily with a slight rub.  Skin your beet and chop up it into small cubes.  Go ahead and do the same to the apple, leaving the skin on.

Rinse off the quinoa.  Bring the water to a boil, add the quinoa, a bit of salt, and reduce to a simmer.  In about 15 minutes your quinoa will have "sprouted" and fluffed up.  Turn off the heat and drain any extra water.

Zest your lime.  I swear by a microplane zester-- it basically undresses citrus of its skin with barely a nudge.

Mix the beet cubes and quinoa in a large bowl.  Stir it around for a bit so the beets can play colorworks. Add the apple cubes.  Sprinkle with the juice of 1 lime and a dribble of walnut oil-- perhaps a teaspoon, just enough to lightly coat the salad.  Finely chop your herbs and add to the mix, along with a good dash of fine sea salt and the lime zest.

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Hungry Burro - quinoa dressed in pink

Comments (6)

Elisa | 19 Mar 2010 - 20:41

You know, I've never had quinoa before. Do you take your own pictures? They're awesome.

cristel de Rouvray | 16 May 2010 - 07:31

this is a beautiful picture. You are so professional!

pao | 19 May 2010 - 23:17

Eli, so, a couple months to approve a comment is nothing, right?? sorry about that. you have to try quinoa! it's so good for you and delish. and thanks to both of you, yes, I take my own pictures...unfortunately that means lots of good stuff will never make it on here because El Burrito devours it before I can even find my camera!

Sandra | 14 Feb 2011 - 15:02

I am going to make it tonite

pao | 25 Feb 2011 - 06:11

hey sandra! did you try it? how was it? xo paola

CopyKat Recipes | 26 May 2011 - 18:54

I bought a bunch of quinoa recently, but I didn't know how to cook it, I love this creative way to get in some wholesome grains.

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