Quinoa. Kween-wah. This odd little seed is not only fun to say, but easy to prepare and delicious to eat.
A superfood that has received a ton of press recently, quinoa is the star of the Quinoa, Fruit and Nut Salad that was voted as the first French Fridays with Dorie recipe for April. Upon reading the ingredients that include a variety of nuts and dried fruits, I immediately thought we were making another variation on trail mix (see Beggar's Linguine). However, that one worked out extremely well so I just went with it.
The quinoa is easy and fast to fix. After a quick boil, the seeds look kind of like something out of the ocean with their curly little tails. Dorie recommends using a mixture of nuts and fruits but I wanted to keep it simple and use what I had on hand. I tossed dried cherries and toasted almonds to the cooled quinoa. The salad is coated with a dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, ginger, and a nut oil (or additional olive oild). I used a delicious Meyer Lemon Olive Oil I picked up from Bistro Blends at food fair last fall and loved the extra hit of lemon. I used dried ginger as directed by Dorie but really couldn't taste it and may try minced fresh ginger in the future. I kept this simple and didn't do the greens and yogurt. Maybe next time.
Too anxious to let it sit, I tasted it and was blown away with the nutty flavor and texture of the quinoa combined with the crunch from the almonds and sweet chewiness of the cherries. I fully expected to be underwhelmed but ended up really enjoying this. I'm anxious to try other recipes using quinoa and totally get its popularity.
Versatile, inexpensive, easy, and healthy? Quinoa rocks!