Quinoa Salad with Lime and Fresh Mint

Over the weekend, I was admiring the mint in the garden. An incredibly vibrant and determined plant, it can occupy your entire garden if permitted. Even though an opportunistic herb, this lovely perennial is full of flavor and a distinct aroma. Mint is a great addition to many culinary dishes, especially in salads. This quinoa salad recipe calls for a few refreshing and aromatic sprigs that brighten up the dish and your senses.

For those of you who are just familiarizing yourself with quinoa, please allow for a little Quinoa 101. Quinoa [pronounced KEEN-wah] is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. Quinoa originated in the Andean region of Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru, where it was successfully domesticated 3,000 to 4,000 years ago for human consumption.

In pre-Columbian Andean civilization, Quinoa was of great nutritional importance. It was secondary only to the potato, and was followed in importance by maize. The Incas believed quinoa to be a sacred crop. They referred to quinoa as chisaya mama or ‘mother of all grains’.

Today, quinoa is finally receiving the recognition it deserves as a SUPERFOOD. “Quinoa is a true wonder food,” says Daniel Fairbanks, Ph.D., a professor of plant and animal science at Brigham Young University. “It has about twice the protein of regular cereal grains, fewer carbohydrates, and even a dose of healthy fats.” Plus, it’s considered a “complete” protein, which means that, like meat, eggs, and dairy, it packs all of the essential amino acids your body needs to build muscle. http://www.menshealth.com/nutrition/quinoa

The addictive nutty flavor of quinoa will have you craving it at all times of the day. Indulge and enjoy this fresh and aromatic superfood full of wholesome goodness. Karina’s recipe, from the Gluten Free Goddess recipe blog, is perfect in defining flavors while keeping a light and summer freshness to the dish and packing a big nutritional superfood punch. Simply fantastic!
Please note – there are several blogs that capture my attention and Karina’s GlutenFreeGoddess blog is at the very top of the recipe blogs. Enjoy!

http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2008/08/lime-quinoa-salad-with-mint.html

Quinoa. My new comfort food

Quinoa Salad Recipe with Lime + Fresh Mint

This cool summer salad (which just so happens to be vegan and naturally gluten-free) reminds me of tabbouleh- a Middle Eastern style pasta dish I used to love. What makes a quinoa salad taste so fabulous? Fresh mint, lime juice and good tasting extra virgin olive oil.

Ingredients:
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 tablespoons fruity extra virgin olive oil
Juice from 2 limes
2-3 fresh mint sprigs, leaves removed and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves or parsley
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
A handful of sweet and ripe cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons diced red onion- or use 2 chopped scallions
1 garlic clove, minced
Instructions:
First, rinse your quinoa in a sieve (it’s tiny so the usual colander might not do).
Cook the quinoa as you would raw rice: in 2 and 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups fresh salted water, covered, until all of the water is absorbed.
I use my rice cooker to do this. The quinoa turns out fluffy, tender and perfect.
Scoop the cooked quinoa into a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients, tossing lightly with a fork until combined.
Taste test and adjust seasonings.
Cover and chill- the longer, the better. In fact, I think this salad tastes better the second day- so plan ahead and make it the day before.
Makes 4-6 servings.

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