Friday, September 21, 2012

Tomato Basil Quinoa Salad - From My Kitchen

This year my dad decided to put a couple tomato plants in the garden to see how they would do. They did very well! From only two plants there is about 15 pounds of tomatoes. Since I am one of his favorite people, he gave me a few. I made this delicious salad featuring protein packed quinoa, fresh basil, tomatoes and cucumbers.

Very often in my kitchen, I won't use a recipe. Only recently have I started to write some recipes down. I thought I would share this one:

What you will need

For the quinoa:
1/2 lemon, juiced and zest
1 cup of water
1 cup of vegetable stock
1 cup of uncooked quinoa
3 Tbsp of your best olive oil
2 tsp dry oregano

For the rest:
approximately 2.5 lbs of fresh diced tomatoes (I used 3)
1 long english cucumber diced
1/4 white onion finely chopped
1 cup of fresh basil chiffonade
1/3 cup of feta cheese crumbled or cubed
a few garlic cloves finely chopped (optional)

freshly ground black pepper to taste

Serves up to 4

1. Squeeze the juice out from half of a large lemon into a measuring cup. Fill the rest of the cup with water up to the one cup mark. Add these to a medium sized saucepan with the zest, vegetable stock and quinoa. Bring pot to a boil, then immediately bring the temperature down to simmer with the lid on until the quinoa is tender. Remove from heat and fluff.

2. For the rest... combine ingredients into a large serving bowl. I didn't add garlic to mine since I still have a pregnancy aversion to it. I did however, add a dash of garlic powder at the end.

3. Once the quinoa is cooled to room temperature, mix in the olive oil and dry oregano.

4. Add the quinoa mixture to the rest of the ingredients in the large bowl and gently mix with a wooden spoon.

5. Add pepper to taste. You may want to add some salt as well, but I didn't since the feta is already salty.

I made this one night when it was just me and Ezra eating for dinner. He really enjoyed it! I made sure that the quinoa was really soft for him. I made a huge batch because I wanted to have more for left overs. I'm glad I did. It was very yummy.

A Tip!
If you feel intimidated to cook with quinoa, or have found that when you have in the past its been bland, make sure you are adding flavor during the cooking process. That way you can get the flavor deep into the grain. To do this, simply substitute the water for a different liquid(s) such as: stock, juice of any kind (diluted), vinegar (diluted), salsa! You name it!

Once I realized that I could do this with quinoa, it quickly became a main staple in my pantry. It is such a protein packed grain that it leaves the body satisfied for a long time.



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