Friday, November 5, 2010

Quinoa Salad with Pear, Feta and Mint

I've got another great grain salad for you.  Remember how I went on and on about my love for grain salads.  A satisfying mix of hearty grains, wholesome veggies (or fruits in this case) fresh herbs and robust vinaigrettes.  Really, these types of salads are some of the best foods on earth.  And I've got a slew of them to tell you about. This one is spectacularly good.  I served this at a  brunch for 30 people last weekend and it was a total winner (I knew it would be, I eat it all the time and that's why I put it on the menu).  It has tons of flavour, it's great cold or at room temperature, and it's so satisfyingly good for you.  Make this over the weekend and take the leftovers to work on Monday for lunch (if there are any). You will love it.

Quinoa Salad with Pear, Feta and Mint
Origin: Adapted from Foodland Ontario

Notes:  Quinoa, pronounced "keen-wah" is an ancient seed/grain from South America, available in white and red varieties which can be used interchangeably.  It is quickly gaining popularity in North America because it is quick to prepare just like rice, it has a really high protein content and it has a mild nutty flavour that compliments a multitude of ingredients.  It can be served hot or cold and people even bake with it.
I added raw pistachios into this batch because I had a small amount lying around, but the salad does not need them.


1 cup dried quinoa
1 teaspoon salt
4-6 green onions, thinly sliced
3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled or cubed
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
2 Ontario Bartlett Pears (or any kind of ripe but firm pears)
1/2 cup raw, shelled pistachios (very optional)

1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 large clove of garlic, minced
salt and pepper

Rinse quinoa in cold water and drain well.  In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of salt to a boil. Add quinoa, cover and reduce heat to low.  Cook until water is absorbed and grain is transparent about 15 minutes.  Let stand covered, for 5 minutes then fluff with a fork. Transfer to large bowl or plate and let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile prepare the dressing.  In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice and garlic, season with salt and pepper.

When the quinoa is cool, mix in the green onions, feta and mint and toss with the dressing. To serve, core and chop the pears into chunks and mix into the salad.

Serves 4-6.

1 comment: