Hello my dear friends! As you may or may not know, I love food, cooking, and creating in the kitchen! I'm a fan of creating healthy fresh eats, that nourish and satisfy the body and soul. And quinoa is one of my favorites that I go to frequently. But up until yesterday I had no clue why my quinoa was never fluffily, came out clumpy and sticky and sometimes mushy. It was always tasty no matter what, but the texture and consistency wasn't what I was looking for when adding other ingredients to it.
Well never fear my dears...I have mastered the perfect quinoa and I'm here to share this amazing recipe with you!
First and foremost lets talk about the quinoa, super food, perfect protein, and more! Nutritionally, quinoa might be considered a supergrain--although it is not really a grain, but the seed of a leafy plant that's distantly related to spinach. Quinoa has excellent reserves of Protein, and unlike other grains, is not missing the amino acid lysine, so the protein is more complete.
Now lets begin by taking about 1 cup of quinoa, place it in a strainer and rinse thoroughly until all the foamy bubbles go away on the top of the grains. The outer surface of quinoa contains a chemical called saponin that makes for a bitter soapy taste if not rinsed really well.
Take the well rinsed quinoa and place into a pot of 1.5 cups of water. YES, that's tip #1! Most of us have always been told 1 cup of grain to 2 cups of water. Not true with quinoa. Less is more for this amazing grain. If you like a little more flavor add a small dollop of veggie stock into the water and bring the whole thing to a rolling boil. Cover and set to simmer for exactly 15 minutes. Once the lid is on, resist resist resist the urge to lift the lid , to stir it, or to fuss with it in any way (tip #2). Walk away and let it cook! After the 15 minute mark, turn off burner and let it rest for 5-10 minutes to dry out a bit (tip #3). AGAIN, resist the urge to lift the lid, patience is key. Trust me, the texture will be perfect!
While the quinoa is resting, gather the following in small bundles....parsley, green onions, mint, carrots, raisins, and cashews. Dice and chop up everything and toss in a bowl.
And now the dressing! Pour into a bowl about 1/2 cup of evoo, juice of 1 lime, a dash of Cumin, Sea Salt, Pepper, and a small squirt of honey. Wisk it all together and taste test so you can adjust the flavor as needed.
Now we're ready to put it all together! Take the lid off the quinoa pot and gently fluff the grains with a fork (no spoons, it will crush and flatten the grains). Once fluffed, pour the quinoa into the bowl with the herbs, carrots, cashews, and raisins. Toss it all together to mix. Pour about 1/2 - 3/4 of the dressing into the bowl and toss again. Taste test to see if you desire more dressing and adjust. Now pop this beauty in the fridge for several hours or overnight. The next day you will have the most amazing quinoa salad that is light, fluffy, and bursting with flavor! Enjoy your vegan, gluten free, bowl of goodness lovies!