For those of you not familiar with this wonderful rice and pasta alternative, Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wa) is a grain-like plant grown for it's edible seeds. Quinoa originated in South America where it had been an important part of the Inca diet 6,000 years ago. It is prized for it's high-protein content, which makes it a great staple for the vegetarian diet. It is also gluten-free, for those dealing with wheat sensitivities. So many reasons to love this stuff! It also has a wonderful nutty flavor and can be mixed with so many different things... it can serve as a side dish, main dish, or even as a breakfast cereal mixed with honey, almonds, and milk! Yum!
Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas, Cherries, and Goat Cheese
Adapted from Debbie Koenig/The San Francisco Cronicle
- 1 1/2 Cups Quinoa, rinsed (or buy a 12 oz box of pre-rinsed)
- 1 Can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 3/4 Cup dried Cherries
- 1 red bell pepper, diced small
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
- 2 TBSP red wine vinegar
- 1 TBSP honey
- 1 tsp mustard
- 2 tsp salt
- pepper to taste
- ---top just before serving----
- 4 oz of goat cheese, crumbled (you could use feta, if preferred)
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, add quinoa, and turn down to a simmer (covered) for 10 minutes. Drain over a fine mesh sieve and spread over a large baking sheet to cool and dry. If you don't have a mesh strainer, you can line a regular strainer with paper towels as a substitute.
Combine Quinoa in a large bowl with chickpeas, cherries, and peppers. Mix your dressing and pour over quinoa. You can serve this immediately or chill in a covered container until needed. Don't add your cheese until right before serving.