Cranberry Quinoa Summer Salad with Parsley, Red Onion, Celery, and Lemon

photo(17)Many people that I have met in my travels were afraid of quinoa. (That is until I got through with them.) I get it though, It’s just one of those items on the shelf that I used to look at and think, ummm. Maybe I’ll try that NEXT week.

Why was it so intimidating? Well besides the fact that it looked like a cross between couscous and rice, so I wasn’t sure how to cook it; the few times I had eaten it, it tasted bitter or even hard because it wasn’t cooked or seasoned properly. I’m guessing some of you have had a similar experience?

However what many people don’t know is that it also has an unbelievable high nutrient and protein content, and almost no fat- which makes people mistakenly classify it as a health food,  as in, “I’m only going to eat that if I’m on a diet and you make me”.  What they also don’t know is that when cooked properly, it has a wonderful nutty taste and can be absolutely delicious if coupled with a few other yummy ingredients.

This is one of my favorite quinoa recipes, and is an unbelievably refreshing and yummy Mediterranean salad that we love to eat in the summertime. It is so easy, and really healthy, so you don’t have to feel guilty if you want to drink a beer or two with it. It would also be really good with chicken or fish as a high protein side, but I love it as a light lunch all on its own. Next time I think I’m going to crumble some feta on top as well.

Ingredients: (serves 4)

1 “cup” quinoa (I use a large whiskey glass)+(2 “cups” water)

A small handful of fragrant chopped parsley

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 to 1/2 of a medium sized red onion, diced

2 large celery ribs, diced

1lemon quartered for garnish and adding juice over the top

Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

Method:

1) Cook the quinoa. This is really easy, even though I didn’t know how to make rice for the LONGEST time. Like, really. I only learned this year, and this method is FOOLPROOF. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium sized saucepan. Pick a glass that is around 1 and 1/2 cups. Fill it up to the very top with quinoa. Add quinoa to the pot, and mix it around, coating in the hot oil. Cook for about 1 minute, toasting the little quinoa grains. Then, using the same cup you use to measure the quinoa, add water filling the cup up twice. basically, 1:2 quinoa to water. You can do this with white, red or brown rice and the results will be the same, the only thing that varies is the cooking time (40 minutes for red or brown rice). Add salt and pepper, don’t worry, you can correct this later if you don’t use enough. Cook covered on a low flame for 20 minutes exactly. I use a kitchen timer. Do not stir. After 20 minutes, turn off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes undisturbed. Uncover and fluff the quinoa.

2) Dice the celery and red onion, and chop the parsley and dried cranberries.

3) Mix all ingredients together, and serve with 1/4 slices of fresh lemon to squeeze over the top.

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4 thoughts on “Cranberry Quinoa Summer Salad with Parsley, Red Onion, Celery, and Lemon

  1. just read this! great new post Leah. I’m inspired by your yummy healthy recipe and method. love you endlessly- mom

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