Monday, January 18, 2010

Quinoa Salad with Pomegranate

Apparently the winter has finally gotten to me and I'm starting to snap.  In the midst of my Monday cooking frenzy I realized everything on my recipe list this week leaned toward Mediterranean foods.  Not that there is anything at all wrong with that.  It was just an odd moment to realize I had totally subconsciously arranged for myself to eat delicious slightly summery light foods.  You know you need a vacation when your taste buds create one for you.

The big hit of the slew of things I made today was this salad.  I've made it before but this time I played with the dressing and changed up the proportions to fit what I was in the mood for to make the salad just that much better.

I've already raved about quinoa but I'll do so again for a couple seconds in case there is still anyone that hasn't tried it.  Quinoa is similar in texture to couscous and is prepared in much the same way but is a grain from a grassy South American plant rather than processed wheat.  It has an interesting slightly bitter taste that makes it a great contrast to a bright citrusy salad like this one.  And it's perfect for the Montignac Method because at 35 it has the lowest GI of any of the grains I've looked into.

I buy mine in the bulk bins at Whole Foods where it's about $3 a pound which is a pretty great deal considering my mother said a couple ounces of it is around $5 at her local grocery store.  It's just nice to have around for quick salads, a rice substitute or as an oatmeal type breakfast with a much better texture.

Unfortunately not everything I made today came out as well as this salad.  Next time I will share with the world how I failed at my fourth souffl√© in a row.  It wasn't meant to be I guess and I now know not to try again.   I'll stick to less high maintenance food thank you very much.
Quinoa Salad with Pomegranate

1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups water

1 cup pomegranate seeds
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 lemon, zested
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup pinenuts, toasted
1/ 4 scant cup cilantro leaves, chopped

salt and pepper, to taste

Bring quinoa and water to boil in medium pot.  After allowing to cook on a rolling boil for a couple minutes, reduce heat to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until quinoa is al dente.  Set aside off heat to allow quinoa to cool.

Add the pomegranate seeds to the cooled quinoa in a large bowl. In a small bowl whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, agave nectar, and mustard until blended. Drizzle over quinoa mixture. Add the remaining ingredients and toss. Season with salt & pepper to taste. 


Kara Hadley said...

I'm still yet to try quinoa, but you've got me thoroughly intrigued. I make a salad similar to this with barley instead and minus the mustard, but that seems like an interesting flavor so I'll have to try it.

Emily said...

Hope you give it a try, I've been obsessed with quinoa since discovering it.