gluten free / Nuts / Savory / Vegetable

Quinoa Red Rice Salad

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All hail Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa)… it is after all “The International Year of the Quinoa”, as declared by The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. Which probably explains why it’s currently sold out in many grocery stores that have no idea when new stock is coming in. Now you might be wondering, keen-what?!? How did this relatively unknown seed gain international status as a superfood?

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Quinoa is a pseudocereal and not a true cereal or grain as it is not a member of the true grass family

The staple of Andean cultures some 3000 years ago, quinoa is an ancient grain with loads of nutritional benefits. It contains more protein than any other grain, contains antioxidants, anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, essential amino acids like lysine and good quantities of calcium, phosphorus, and iron. High in fibre yet easy to digest, it is acceptable in most gluten-free and kosher diets. It’s also very versatile and can be enjoyed on it’s own or in salads. No wonder  quinoa is becoming increasingly popular in the US, Canada, Europe and Japan.

If you’ve never tried quinoa, here’s a pretty simple salad dish that my hubby put together. I take credit for coming up with the idea to combine quinoa with some organic Thai red rice we had to create a salad. But he really did most of the work executing my vision, which is what usually happens in our home: I crave, he cooks!

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Red rice is a type of non-glutinous long grain unpolished rice similar to brown rice, only the color of the bran is red, purple or maroon

Quinoa Red Rice Salad

1/2 cup quinoa + 3/4 cup stock
1/2 cup red rice + 3/4 cup stock (amt of liquid may vary, follow package instructions)
1/4 cup olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
250g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tbsp dried parsley
1/2 cup pecans, toasted
1/4 cup dried cranberries
Handful of rocket salad leaves

1. Rinse quinoa in water, drain. Bring quinoa and stock to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let it simmer until all the liquid is absorbed (about 10-15 min). Fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork and let cool.

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Most cooking directions call for a ratio of 1:2 of quinoa to liquid, but I’ve found that using 1.5 times the liquid yields more nutty n less mushy quinoa

2. Cook the red rice with stock in a rice cooker.

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Take care not to overcook the rice or add too much liquid as we want to achieve an al dente texture

3. Heat up olive oil in a medium skillet, sauté minced garlic until it’s fragrant. Add in cherry tomatoes, dried herbs and sauté quickly till tomatoes are soft but not mushy!

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We only want to slightly soften, not cook the tomatoes so do this over low heat

4. Turn the heat off and stir in cooked quinoa and rice, together with toasted pecans and dried cranberries.

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Dried cranberries add a little sweetness and tartness to the salad

5. Quickly stir in rocket leaves and serve warm or cold!

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Fresh arugula adds a bitter edge and brightens up the entire dish

I find this salad absolutely delish! It’s healthy, nutritious, light, yet hearty enough for dinner. I hope you like it!

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