Monday, March 14, 2011

Quinoa, Cauliflower and Feta Salad

Yum, I just made up a totally amazing salad that is good for you! 

If you are not sure what Quinoa (keen-wa) is, please keep reading, this is something that you will want to try.  Quinoa is not actually a grain, but a seed from South America.  It is gluten free and easier to cook than rice.  It was highly prized by the Inca's, probably because it has a high protein content of 12-18%.  There isn't any starches out there with a protein content like that... nope, not potatoes, rice, corn, pasta, couscous... this is something you should add to your pantry. I bought a 4 lb. bag of this at Costco for about $9.99, but I am sure it can be found elsewhere sold in 'bulk' for less than that. I'm going to start substituting Quinoa for rice for some meals since it is so quick to cook!

This salad is easy and quick to make, and is fantastic for packing for your lunch, since it doesn't need refrigeration to stay stay safe and taste good. 

Serves about 6

1 1/2 cup quinoa seeds
3 cups water
1-2 cups cauliflower, "mini" florets, steamed or roasted
1 small bunch of green onions, sliced
3/4 cup bell pepper, small dice
1/4 cup parsley, minced
4 oz. feta, crumbled
3 Tbsp Olive oil
1/2 lemon, zested
1/2 lemon, juiced
Salt & Pepper

In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil and add the quinoa.  I turned my pot down to medium heat and let it cook about 15 minutes.  I then turned off the heat, covered the pan and let it sit about 5 more minutes.

Make cauliflower florets.... you could roughly chop your cauliflower, but these look so much cuter!  Toss the cauliflower with olive oil and roast in a 400 degree oven on a baking sheet for about 20 minutes, just until the cauliflower is cooked through and starting to get some brown edges. 
You could easily steam the small florets in the microwave for 3-4 minutes until they were cooked through by adding to a small glass bowl, adding 2-3 Tbsp. of water and covering with plastic wrap.  Careful, it will be HOT when you go to remove that plastic wrap!

Chop the bell pepper, I used about 1/4 of an orange, red and yellow bell pepper since that is what I had on hand.  Any kind of pepper would do, AND if you don't like peppers, you could substitute almost any other vegetable that you do like... broccoli, zucchini, sweet potato, etc, but keep in mind, you may have to steam or roast the vegetable to get it nice to eat in the salad.

Toss the veggies with the quinoa and add the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, parsley and the feta cheese to fully mix the salad.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, but you could also had fresh herbs or other spices like cumin or oregano.

I served this right away at lunch for two people on Sunday, took 3 cups to my neighbors and had enough left over for 2 lunch size portions.

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