I have sung quinoa’s praises many, many times on this blog, so I think you know by now how I feel about it. It really is a super food and incredibly versatile. This salad caught my eye while I was searching the web last week, looking at recipes. I couldn’t wait to make it as a side for dinner and to enjoy the leftovers throughout the week for lunch. I ended up doubling the recipe so we had extra for leftovers.
This salad has a bright and sunny taste to it and it was the perfect side with the grilled pork steaks from Sojourner Farms that we were making. It was even more perfect being that it finally warmed up a bit here. It was a balmy 42º when we were getting ready to start dinner last night and rather than heating up the oven and cooking inside, we decided it would be the perfect night to fire up the grill. Honestly, it felt a bit like a heat-wave, it has been such a brutal and frigid winter here. I am actually calling “Uncle” on the 2010/11 Winter season, officially here and now! I am done, I want to see the sun, some lovely flower buds and the beautiful green grass and trees. We have been buried since early December in so many feet of snow. Don’t get me wrong, I love the snow and I still, after all these years of living here, get excited with each and every flake that falls and even the major storms, but this year I have hit my limit. Thankfully Spring is just around the corner and with the Spring comes more green and more fresh produce, which I am equally missing.
Oranges and other citrus are in season right now, but I have never been a big orange eater. However, I have been trying out different types of oranges and tangerines and I am liking them more each time, I particularly like them in dishes instead of just plain. The tangerines in this salad were perfectly juicy and sweet but not too overpowering. You could certainly use your citrus of choice, oranges would be just as good. The fresh scallions and parsley were both perfect, I changed the original recipe a bit by adding garlic and adding a bit more sriracha, since I like spicy, though even with increasing the sriracha it was still a very subtle spiciness, not intense by any stretch of the imagination. This salad is best served room temperature and it was perfect with the grilled pork and green beans with pine nuts that I also made. This salad was great as a side, but would also be great as the main dish or an appetizer. Additionally, it would be a nice vegan dish to bring to a party. If you double the recipe as I did, just top each individual serving with the toasted almonds and keep them on the side, this way they won’t lose that lovely crunch by sitting in the fridge with the salad. Just top each serving individually as you serve them.
Citrus Quinoa Salad with Toasted Almonds
adapted from Cooking with Amy
1 tangerine, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks (remove as much of the membranes as you can)
1 cup organic quinoa, rinsed well
1 3/4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for serving
1/2 lemon, preferably organic
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, minced
1/2 tablespoon sriracha, or more to taste
2 tablespoons thinly sliced toasted almonds
Toast your almond slices ahead of time and set aside.
Rinse the quinoa thoroughly, then toast it in a dry medium saucepan, over medium heat for a few minutes until it is fragrant.
Add the water and salt to the quinoa, and bring to a boil over a high heat. Cover and reduce the heat to medium, and simmer until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Spread the quinoa out on a baking sheet to cool to room temperature quicker, while you prepare the salad.
Before cutting the lemon, finely grate the zest and then squeeze the juice into a large serving bowl. Add the olive oil, garlic, scallions, parsley and sriracha. Once the quinoa has cooled and is room temperature add in the quinoa and tangerine pieces, season to taste with salt and top with almonds and a bit of fresh parsley just before serving.