Being knee deep in the summer swing right now, I've pretty much gone through all my staple, summer salads to bring to picnics and BBQs. I also feel like I need to keep upping the ante and go beyond a green salad or fruit salad, but really, how many more places can you go?
Enter the grain and fruit category. One of my friend's bristled when I told her I was thinking of mixing the two for an upcoming event. I wasn't sure myself, but then I stumbled upon a recipe combining some of my favorite things - good grains, berries, mint, and nuts. That's bound to be a hit, right?
I pulled it together and brought it to 2 parties this week-end and it appeared to be quite the crowd pleaser. I'm a huge mint fan, so I upped the levels with that herb and downplayed the parsley, which I find can be quite bitter.
If you're wanting to make this in advance, leave the strawberries out until just before serving since they will bleed into the other ingredients.
Quinoa Salad with Strawberries, Almonds and Mint
Recipe adapted from Pure Wow and Mette Williams, Culina
Makes 6 side dish servings
- 1 cup quinoa
- 3 tablespoons almond oil
- 1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar (can substitute white balsamic vinegar)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 strawberries, trimmed and thinly sliced
- ¼ cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted
- ½ English cucumber, cut into small cubes
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 3 tablespoons thinly sliced mint leaves
- Optional: Top with goat or vegan cheese
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan set over high heat. Add the quinoa, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the quinoa is tender and has absorbed all the water, about 10 minutes.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spread the quinoa out to cool to room temperature.
- While the quinoa cools, make the dressing by whisking the almond oil with the olive oil, champagne vinegar and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Once the quinoa is cool, place in a medium bowl and combine with the strawberries, almonds, cucumber, parsley and mint. Re-whisk the dressing and pour it over the salad. Toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then serve.