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Quinoa Salad

adapted from Food Network

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa rinsed
  • 4-5 pickling cucumbers seeded, ends trimmed, and cut into 1/4-inch cubes*
  • 1 small red onion cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 large tomato cored, seeded, and diced or a pint of grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 bunch Italian parsley leaves chopped
  • 2 bunches mint leaves chopped (or one package from grocery)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar I used Port Balsamic
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 heads Belgian endive trimmed and separated into individual spears
  • or one head curly green endive
  • 1 avocado a little on the firm side, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks

Instructions

  1. Cook quinoa, according to package directions. I used a rice cooker and cooked 1 1/2 cups quinoa in 3 cups of water. After cooked, cool completely. I spread the quinoa onto a plate and set in the refrigerator for about an hour. This could also be done several hours before serving, up to a day before.
  2. When the quinoa is cooled, add the cucumbers, onion, tomato, parsley and mint. Toss.
  3. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice salt and pepper.
  4. Wash and dry the endive. If using the curly endive, line a platter with leaves. Lightly toss the avocado with the salad. If using endive spears, spoon the salad onto endive spears, top with avocado, and serve.

Recipe Notes

-The recipe calls for 12 cups of water to the 1 1/2 cups of quinoa. This had to be a misprint. I followed the advice of several opinions online and used a rice cooker. The quinoa was cooked perfectly in the rice cooker. If you don't have a rice cooker, follow package directions for cooking on the stove top.
-It is essential to completely cool the quinoa after cooking. Fluff it up a bit and place in fridge.
-The recipe calls for rinsing the quinoa after cooking. Thankfully, I listened to that little voice that said - test a small portion. I took about a cup out and rinsed it. It never drained. The portion I rinsed was a water soaked mess. It sat in a strainer for a few hours, and never drained. Glad I didn't try that with the whole batch. Spreading the quinoa on a plate and placing in the fridge worked well for me.
-I prefer grape tomatoes to larger tomatoes for this recipe.
-The original recipe calls for red wine vinegar. I've found when a recipe calls for just red wine vinegar and olive oil, I usually prefer balsamic. I use a Port Balsamic "O" Brand, which can be found at kitchen specialty stores, or often at my favorite, TJ Maxx, in the kitchenware aisle. You can also find "O" here.
-*The recipe calls for pickling cukes. You may also use regular grocery store variety, just make sure to seed them (remove the seeds). Or seeded English cucumbers work well.
-Last note- this was even better for leftovers the day after.