The Dabble

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The Non-Grain Quinoa in a Quinoa Salad with Mint, Apple and Honey-Cumin Dressing

Blooper recipe of the week this one was until several things were changed. I’m embarrassed to even say what famous female has this on her website (rhymes with Startha Mewart). In defense of her usually tasty recipes, maybe someone missed an ingredient or two and the amounts were off. It happens. It also happens that the original dressing, giving it most of the flavor, was awful. Way too much lemon, not enough spice or honey and just downright boring. If your first quinoa experience was with the original recipe, it would have scared you away. Sorry, Startha.

But first, let’s talk about quinoa (pronounced keen-wah). Have you had this nutritious grain-like seed (it’s actually a seed from a leafy plant related to spinach and not a grain)? Greg thinks they look like tiny fish eggs without any of that taste. It’s a great source of protein, comes in different colors (yellow, red, brown, black and white) and I’ve found it in grocery stores in the middle of nowhere so it’s out there.

Alone, it has a nutty flavor and I find that it often requires being tossed with a dressing and/or dried fruit, nuts, olives, herbs, veggies/fruits, or beans (along the lines of Moroccan cuisine) for Greg and I to be happy with the dish. When it does have the ingredients, I could eat quinoa all day. If you’ve never had this power-packed, nutrient rich, popular for the right reasons food, I recommend you try it.

Quinoa Salad with Mint, Apple and Honey-Cumin Dressing

While figuring out which recipe I wanted to undertake for my bulk quinoa buy from my local co-op, I came across a vast amount of worthy-sounding dishes.

Dishes like: Quinoa Risotto with Mushrooms and Thyme from Bon Appetit

Lemon-Scented Quinoa Salad from Heidi at 101 Cookbooks

Balsamic Grilled Summer Vegetables with Basil Quinoa Salad from Veggie Belly

Quinoa Granola from Fake Ginger

Santa Fe Quinoa Salad from Food & Wine

Grilled Garlic Shrimp + Quinoa with Garlic, Nuts, & Raisins from Perry’s Plate

Black Quinoa with Grilled Vegetables, Basil and Feta from Healthy Green Kitchen

Quinoa Pudding with Coconut, Banana and Vanilla from Judicial Peach

Moroccan Roasted Carrot and Chickpea Quinoa Salad from Closet Cooking

Now back to the new and improved recipe. Feel free to swap any ingredients with others you might like better.

Quinoa Salad with Mint, Apple and Honey-Cumin Dressing
Serves 2 to 4

¼ cup raw whole almonds (or pecans, walnuts, pine nuts)
1 cup white quinoa
2 tsp honey
1 tbsp shallot, finely chopped (or red onion)
1 tsp curry powder
2 tsp cumin powder
½ tsp cayenne pepper-optional
sea salt/freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp dried currants, cranberries or cherries, coarsely chopped
1 small apple of your choice, diced (McIntosh is great)
¼ cup fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped (cilantro or basil will work too)
Extras you might toss in: chopped, pitted olives of your choice, chickpeas, black beans, other herbs and dried apricots

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and bake, until lightly toasted, about 5 to 7 minutes. Cool and chop.
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan with lid. Rinse the quinoa in a fine sieve then add to the boiling water. Stir and cover; reducing the heat to a simmer. Cook quinoa until tender but chewy, about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and cool.

In a large bowl, mix the honey, shallot (or onion), curry, cumin, optional cayenne, lemon juice, and salt/pepper. Whisk constantly and slowly pour the olive oil into the mixture until emulsified. Add the quinoa, dried fruit, apple, mint and nuts; tossing well. Serve as a side or main dish.

4 thoughts on “The Non-Grain Quinoa in a Quinoa Salad with Mint, Apple and Honey-Cumin Dressing

  1. Love Quinoa! I have only had it in salads, but I’d like to try that risotto recipe. You could probably substitute it for rice in a lot of places. I made a good tabbouleh with it instead of the usual bulgar. I’m surprised it’s not more popular. When I brought it into work, people asked what I was eating, and no one had ever heard of it. I know people describe its flavor as “nutty”, but I think “earthy” is a better fit, and it certainly loves cumin. My favorite thing about it is how the little curly-q’s on the seed tell you when it’s done. Cheers!

    1. The tabbouleh sounds great. I’d love the recipe! I’m not a fan of bulgar so I use quinoa as a replacement. So true about earthy, I do like that description better. If a seed could be described as adorable, I think this would be it.

  2. I have never thought of adding sweetness to my quinoa recipes…but I love the idea! You are so funny, and I love how your humor infuses your posts. I have quinoa at home, and now I have a new recipe to try. Thank you for sharing!

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