First experiment with quinoa was an amazing success! I picked up some blood oranges at the farmer’s market last week, and they were so good that I decided they needed to become part of a recipe. A lot of this is estimates, I didn’t measure most of the stuff tonight. Next time I make it I’ll try to measure and update the recipe. It was the first time I’ve made a side dish that got more compliments than the main dish, and we had some yummy marinated steak, and great salmon from the farmer’s market, so that is saying something.
Quinoa and Blood Orange Salad
serves 4-6 as a side dish
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (could use chicken broth instead)
- 3 blood oranges
- 1 orange (or other color) bell pepper, chopped medium
- 2 persian cucumbers (or other kind of cucumber with seeds removed), quartered lengthwise, then sliced medium
- juice from 1/2 lemon
- dijon mustard
- olive oil
- salt to taste
- 1 5-6 oz. package baby spinach (this is a guess, I got my spinach at the farmer’s market)
- Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer, making sure to move it around with your hands so it all gets rinsed. Apparently it can have a bitter taste without this step. Set aside to drain.
- Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Toast the slivered almonds until fragrant, and starting to show a little color, about 5 minutes. Remove to a bowl.
- Place the quinoa in the dry saucepan over medium heat. Toast until all the water is evaporated, and the quinoa is dry and slightly toasted, maybe 5-8 minutes.
- Add vegetable or chicken broth to pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for about 10-12 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed. Quinoa should be tender, but have a slight bit of crunch to it. Leave cover on the pan while getting the rest of the salad ready.
- Put chopped bell pepper and cucumber in a large bowl. Peel and section the blood orange into the bowl. Here’s a great demo of how to do that. As you finish taking the sections out of each blood orange, squeeze any juice left in the bits that remain into a small bowl. Make sure you squeeze pretty hard to get all the bits of juice, and make your kid comment on how gross it looks with that pink juice running between your fingers.
- Make the dressing. Here’s where it is really vague, sorry about that. Take the bowl with the blood orange juice, and add some lemon juice, probably about half a lemon’s worth. Add a bit of dijon mustard, maybe about a teaspoon, and some salt, and mix that with a small whisk until blended. Drizzle in olive oil, continuing to whisk, until it tastes and looks right to you. Mine had a pretty pink color to it. I know, vague. Sorry.
- Right before serving, toss about half of the dressing with the spinach in a large bowl. Spread that out on a platter, or in a shallow bowl. Fluff the quinoa with a fork, taste it and add salt if needed. Mix the quinoa into the chopped veggies and blood orange sections, then drizzle the rest of the dressing over it, add the toasted almonds, and mix again. Lay this over the top of the spinach and serve.