Q is for Quinoa

I’ve heard about it.My friends talk about it.I’ve read umpteen reviews,blogs and recipes on the benefits of it…bought it,stored it,gave it away and forgot all about it until last week,I saw it  while shopping for my groceries.So this time I decided I must cook it.The results were a fresh,satisfying and a delicious salad.

Now you are probably wondering what all this fuss is about.Well its time for my kitchen to say hello to this wonderful grain called Quinoa(to be pronounced “Keen-wa”).I have to correct myself here it’s rightly classified as a seed and not really a grain.Quinon is gluten-free and power packed with goodies.High in fibre,loaded with vitamins and popular with vegetarians.You could use Quinoa in salads,casseroles and soups.

I’ve put together this simple and delicious salad here.It light and healthy.I’ve used fresh chopped tomatoes,chopped avocados,black olives and cucumbers.Feel free and add your favourite vegetables as well.

As I’ve said before turning to healthy choices is always an option.I’ve contemplating way too long on cooking Quinoa.We had this on the side with some steamed fish the other night.And I was quite pleased that I had discovered such a wonderful new salad.A nice nutty bite to it and very satisfying.I even enjoyed having the left over salad for lunch the next day.So yes would could make up a batch and keep it handy to have.

Tips on cooking Quinoa:

  • Rinse the quinoa under running water.(About 1 cup is good for 4-5 servings)
  • Use 1 1/2 cups of water for every cup of quinoa.
  • Bring to a boil. Then cover and let it simmer till all the water is absorbed.
  • The Quinoa is cooked when the water is fully absorbed and the grain becomes translucent.
  • Remove and let this cool by spreading it on a platter. Drizzle with olive oil.
  • I’ve added chopped tomatoes,cucumbers,red onions,black olives and some avocado.

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon(squeezed)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • You may even mix a bit of balsamic vinegar if you wish.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander or parsley.

Cheers to healthy cooking dear friends and I hope you enjoy making this Quinoa Salad.

Rucola with Warm Goat Cheese Salad

I discovered Rucola and must say it was love at first taste.Such a burst of wonderful flavours…Aromatic,nutty almost bitter and peppery at times.

And so I decided I must grown a whole bunch this winter.Quite a hardy plant.You could just sow the seeds in a row…They do best in spring to summer.Grown best under filtered sunlight compared to direct as the sun in UAE could be really strong.

This plant sure grows fast and in no time I tons of it for “Many a salad days”

Last night I paired this lovely salad with some pan seared Goats Cheese and dressed it with a balsamic vinaigerette.You could add Cherry tomatoes( I choose just regular ones),black olives,capers….I l like to keep the flavours simple as the Rucola in itself is pretty powerful.

This delightful salad can be served along  with a Pasta or even some grilled chicken.

Another great dressing if you like is a nice one with honey and some Dijon Mustard…This would add some more kick to the already hot Rucola…also known as Rocket or Arugula.I love to add the capers in this as it gives the salad a nice crunch…even toasted nuts …pine nuts,walnuts would be a great addition.

I’ve used some ready store-bought Goats cheese here…Love the variety of flavours..basil cheese,plain and pepper…

Add this cheese to a hot frying pan and let it warm up slightly.Turn around once till both sides are slightly brown…

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups Rucola leaves,rinsed and dried
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes of plain ones
  • 2 teaspoons capers
  • 3 small rounds of flavoured goats cheese

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • freshly ground pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese(optional)

METHOD:

  1. Gently rinse the Rucola leaves and pat dry them.
  2. Place them on a flat dish.
  3. Heat a non stick pan and gently warm the goats cheese till both sides are light brown in colour.
  4. For the dressing mix the olive oil,balsamic vinegar ,salt,pepper and capers together.
  5. Drizzle over the salad.

Best eaten when the Goats cheese is warm…..Enjoy and thanks for reading my post.