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Quinoa Salads
Quinoa with Zucchini and Corn
Quinoa with Zucchini and Corn
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a gluten-free, high-protein, high-fiber, quick-cooking whole grain with a nutty flavor.  Technically quinoa is not a grain, it is basically a “seed” which is prepared and eaten similarly to a grain.  Quinoa is  one of the few plant foods that contain all nine essential amino acids. You’ll find beige, red, black, or tricolor quinoa in stores; they all taste the same, so use whichever color you prefer. Quinoa grows with a bitter, protective coating called saponin that is easily rinsed off. Most of the quinoa sold today in supermarkets is pre-rinsed, although a quick rinse under the faucet never hurts.
Greek Quinoa Salad

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed and rained
1 cup water
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
1/2 cup peeled and diced cucumber
1/2 cup shredded fresh spinach leaves
1/3 cup fresh corn kernels (optional)
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
2 cups chopped lettuce (your preferred type)
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

Dressing:
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper

Directions:

In a small saucepan, combine the quinoa and water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat.  Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Transfer the quinoa to a bowl and set aside to cool.

Once the quinoa has cooled to room temperature, add the tomato, cucumber, spinach, corn, and red onion. Stir to combine.

Make the dressing by whisking together all of the dressing ingredients.
Add the dressing to the quinoa mixture and gently toss to coat.

To serve:
Place the chopped lettuce on a serving platter or individual salad plates. Spoon the quinoa mixture on top.  Sprinkle with some of the crumbled feta and serve.
Quinoa with Zucchini and Corn
(Serves 2)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup quinoa
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise and then into 1/2-inch thick slices
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon butter
2 ears of fresh corn, kernels removed from cobs
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
Lemon wedges

Directions:

Cook quinoa in 1 cup water for 15-20 minutes, covered.
Fluff with a fork and transfer to a large bowl.

Toast almonds in a large dry skillet until golden; transfer to a plate.
Heat olive oil in the same skillet over medium-high, cook zucchini and scallions until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add them to the bowl with the quinoa.

Melt the butter in the same skillet.  Add the corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn begins to brown, about 4-5 minutes.  Add to the bowl with the quinoa.  Add the parsley to the bowl, season with salt and pepper and gently toss all the ingredients to combine.  (It can be refrigerated at this point)

Remove from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving.
Add the almonds to the mixture and serve with lemon wedges.
Toasted Quinoa, Chicken and Vegetable Salad Bowls

(Serves 4-6)

Ingredients:

Olive oil
3 garlic cloves, grated or finely minced, divided
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
Salt and pepper
1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup red onion, cut into bite-size pieces
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 cup shredded fresh spinach leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Juice of 1 lemon

Directions:

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
Toast the quinoa for about 4-5 minutes, stirring it frequently. Add 1/3 of the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Carefully add the water and bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until all the water is absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove the lid, uncover and set aside to cool.

Cut the chicken breast crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices.  Season with salt and pepper.  Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Sauté the chicken breasts 2-3 minutes; just long enough to sear them to a light golden brown. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board.

Add another 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet along with the zucchini, broccoli and red onion.  Add the remaining garlic, red pepper flakes, and season with salt and pepper.  Sauté the vegetables for about 5 minutes or until they start to brown and are crisp-tender.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Fluff the quinoa with a fork and transfer it to a large serving bowl.  Stir in the spinach and parsley.  Season with salt and pepper. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces and add it to the quinoa, along with the sautéed zucchini, broccoli and onion.  Add the lemon juice and drizzle with additional olive oil.  Stir to combine and serve warm or at room temperature.
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How to Cook Quinoa

One cup of dry quinoa yields about 3 cups when cooked.  To cook quinoa, combine 1 cup (rinsed!) quinoa with 2 cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes.  Quinoa may be cooked in vegetable or chicken broth for added flavor.  You can also add  spices and aromatics, such as a clove of  garlic, a sprig of fresh rosemary, or some dried tumeric to the quinoa while cooking.  When the quinoa is fully cooked, you should see tiny spirals (the germ) separating from and curling around the quinoa seeds. Fluff the quinoa gently with a fork, and serve.  If any liquid remains in the bottom of the pan or if the quinoa is still a bit crunchy, return the pot to low heat and cook, covered, until all the water has been absorbed.
How to Toast Quinoa

To give quinoa an intense butty flavor, you can toast it in a skillet with a little bit of oil over low heat for a few minutes before adding the water. To toast, heat some oil (about 1 tablespoon of oil for every 1 1/2 cups quinoa) over medium-low heat and add your quinoa. Stir it constantly, so that it doesn't burn, until it begins to turn a light golden brown, about 5 minutes.  Then carefully add the water, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and continue cooking.
RECIPES
Greek Quinoa Salad
Quinoa with Zucchini and Corn
Toasted Quinoa, Chicken and Vegetable Salad Bowls
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