Quinoa is one of my favorite ingredients. I frequently make a big pot and use it in different ways throughout the course of a week. A scoop warmed gently with almond milk, a pinch of cinnamon, dried fruit, and a generous dollop of honey and chopped nuts makes a wonderful, nourishing breakfast. A dinner side comes together in no time when you heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a sauté pan, add cooked quinoa, season well, and toss in a generous handful of chopped tender herbs and scallions. My favorite way to enjoy quinoa, though, is in a veggie and protein packed salad like the one below.
Quinoa Shrimp Salad with Cucumber, Tomato and Feta
serves 4 as a main
You can prepare quinoa according to package instructions, but I’ve found most instructions call for too much water and too much time, bringing mushy and soggy results. The paper towel trick I learned from the GOOP website and it works like a charm. Just be sure to rinse quinoa well in a fine mesh sieve before cooking to remove the natural saponin coating. If you don’t, your quinoa may taste bitter and soapy.
for the quinoa:
1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed well and drained
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Place water, quinoa, bay leaf, and salt in a medium saucepan with a tight fitting lid. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then cover and reduce to a low simmer. Cook for 12 minutes or until water has absorbed. Remove from heat and place a paper towel between pot and lid, allowing it to rest for 5 minutes (this absorbs any residual moisture). To cool, spread out on a large rimmed baking sheet.
for the salad:
1 recipe cooked and cooled quinoa (see above)
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved, or quartered if large
3/4 cup mint leaves, finely chopped
1 cup parsley leaves, finely chopped
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces feta, diced small or crumbled
1 pound cooked* shrimp, diced
Place quinoa, onion, cucumber, tomatoes, mint and parsley in a large bowl. Toss and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Pour over quinoa mixture, stirring to combine. Add feta and shrimp, and stir gently. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.
*Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside. Squeeze half of a lemon into a medium pot of water, drop it in, then add a bay leaf, 5 or 6 black peppercorns, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, add 1 pound large shell-on shrimp, cover, and turn off heat. Let sit for about 5 minutes or until shrimp have turned bright pink. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in ice water to cool. Drain, peel, and devein.