When Twitter first came on the scene, I wasn’t really sure what to do with it. I had Facebook and email and a blog already, so did I really need another way to connect with people? But I signed up anyway. And, as it has grown, I’ve come to see all sorts of benefits that I could not have previously imagined would come from this micro-blogging/communication/networking phenomenon. I’ve made new friends, found news stories and been given a few new recipe ideas.
This Quinoa Salad with Curry-Lime Vinaigrette is one of those recipes. A friend tweeted she had been thinking a lot about biryani-style quinoa dishes. I was curious and asked for links, which she happily sent along. I liked the idea of them, but neither of the recipes really grabbed me as a whole. Instead, I was more interested in picking and choosing the bits and pieces from each that were intriguing.
And I was more than motivated to try out something similar, having impulse bought a three-pound bag of quinoa from Costco. Seriously. Some people impulse buy gum; that makes a lot more sense.
I’ve liked quinoa for some time, ever since trying it with veggies and a peanut sauce at the Coup. But the idea of cooking it was a bit intimidating. Various reports of it being bitter or improperly cooked were enough to make me shy away from it. And then I saw on the back of this bag that you could cook it in a rice cooker. Can I make a confession here? I don’t really know how to cook rice on the stove because a former boyfriend bought me a cooker when I came back from Japan (where I had fallen in love with the one in my little townhouse). Now that’s all I use. So, knowing I could make perfect quinoa in the rice cooker was enough for me to put the giant bag of the stuff in my equally giant Costco cart.
And then I got it home and didn’t really know what to do with it.
And here we are.
So, I made this salad with quinoa and carrots and zucchini, currants and pine nuts and sort of make-it-up-as-you-go-along dressing based on what I thought would be good with hints from the other two recipes I read. Tossed it all together and it was fantastic. So I ate some more. And then I tweeted it and people started asking for a recipe. So, I made it again last week and actually wrote down what went in this time.
I was at the farmer’s market and bought some oddly coloured carrots (because I also impulse buy strange vegetables) and used them in the salad because I thought they’d be pretty. They were. But the first time I made this I used straight up normal carrots and it was just as fantastic.
Oh, and here’s the best tip I’ve read in a while for julienning vegetables perfectly. First cut it in diagonal slices, then stack those and cut into sticks. So much easier and they always look fantastic.
This is great right away, even better if you can let it sit for a bit so everything has a chance to hang out.
Lastly, I’d say that the beauty of a salad is it is infinitely adaptable. Don’t like pine nuts? Use sliced almonds instead. Currants are great, but I bet diced apricots or a handful of dried cranberries would also be delicious. And so on.
Quinoa Salad with Curry-Lime Vinaigrette
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 2 carrots
- 1 small zucchini
- 3 green onions
- 1/2 cup currants
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- zest and juice of one lime
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/4 teaspoon dried ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 cup oil (I used olive because it’s what I had. Any veg oil will be great)
Cook quinoa according to package directions or using the “white rice” setting on a rice cooker. Set aside and let cool then place in large salad bowl.
Julienne carrots and zucchini, then slice green onions. Add to quinoa. Stir in chickpeas, toasted pine nuts and currants.
To make dressing, zest lime into a bowl, then add lime juice and honey. Whisk to dissolve honey, then add salt and spices. While whisking, slowly add oil to emulsify. Pour over salad and toss.