Saturday, May 28, 2011

1992 Apple Quinoa Salad

What makes a salad a salad?  Is it the dressing? the greens?  I realize this a very deep philosophical question that will require many hours of pondering.  There are those who think salad is a bed of slightly browned iceburg lettuce topped with cubed ham, a mayo-based dressing, and cheese (don't forget the croutons!).  Still others think salad must actually be green and some even allow for salads of the fruit variety or those served on bars.  Obscure music fans think Salad is a pop group formed in London in 1992.

So while this dish doesn't necessarily have greens, it does have fruit and it does have olive oil.  It's a mixture of food stuff most easily eaten out of a bowl.  Some people would call it a grain salad and others (like myself) would go so far as to call it nutrient dense.  It's chock full of Superfoods:  Walnuts contain omega-3s (good for you fats) and help raise HDLs (good for you cholesterol).  We all know an apple a day keeps the doctor away and so do the immune boosting powers of ginger!  Much like that piece of chicken you may have on your plate, the grain in this salad is a complete protein.  Quinoa (KEEN-wah) contains a balanced set of amino acids, has high iron content, and is gluten free.  It comes in different colors and was also the name of a 1992 album by Tangerine Dream.  Because so much music trivia from the year 1992 can be associated with this dish, I decided to call it:

1992 Apple Quinoa Salad
You can eat this dish warm or make it more 'salad-like' by serving it cold on a bed of arugula.

1/2 cup walnuts
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup onion, diced
Quarter-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled & grated (use your cheese grater!)
2 cups water
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 large apple (Fuji, Gala, or Pink Lady work well)
A bit of lemon juice
1 cup frozen peas
Salt & pepper to taste

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spread walnuts on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, until slightly browned and fragrant.
2.  In a medium sauce pan, saute onion in oil until translucent. Add ginger and water.
3.  Turn heat up to high and bring water to a boil.  Add quinoa, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer for 25-20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed and quinoa 'uncurls.'
4.  In a large bowl combine the cooked quinoa and the frozen peas.  Add salt & pepper.  Cover with a towel and set aside.
5.  Coarsely chop the walnuts.
6.  Core and dice the apple.  Pour a little lemon juice into the palm of your hand, and toss with the apple to prevent browning (be careful if there are cuts on your hand, it will sting!).
7.  Combine the walnuts and apple with the quinoa and peas (which should be the thawed by now).

Get cooking!  While your quinoa is simmering, let me know your definition of a salad.  Also, what else happened in 1992?

1 comment:

  1. I prefer this dish cold on a bed of very green lettuce/spinach.