Sunday, December 19, 2010

Quinoa with Almonds & Cranberries

I served this quinoa with almonds and cranberries as a side dish to our delicious bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin and it was so light and easy.  It's a good combination of the sweetness from the cranberries, nuttiness from the quinoa and almonds, and sharpness from the vinegar.  It's also wonderful because this recipe doesn't require a lot of effort on your part and can sit for a while until you are ready to serve it (I bet having it sit longer would actually meld the flavors even more).

Quinoa is incredibly good for you - a grain that is gluten-free (if that's important to you) and much higher in protein and fiber than brown rice (quinoa's protein is also a complete protein source which provides all nine essential amino acids).  It's found more and more in regular grocery stores in addition to health foods and co-ops, Trader Joes, etc. 

Quinoa with Cranberries & Almonds
Taken from: A Hint of Honey
Serves 4-6

  • 1/3 cup pistachios, toasted in a dry skillet over medium-low heat until fragrant (I substituted slivered almonds because we always have some in the house)
  • 1 cup quinoa, toasted in a dry skillet over high heat until lightly browned, about 5 minutes (forgot to toast this but it still turned out great!)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped (you can also add in 1/4 c. dried apricots although I omitted)
  • 1-2 stalks celery, sliced 
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt + more to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper
Honey Shallot Sherry Vinaigrette:
  • 2 tsp. shallots or red onion, minced
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
-Add quinoa, water, and salt to a medium sized pot and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes, until the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is soft. Fluff with a fork and let cool.
-To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the shallot, honey, and vinegar in a small bowl. Slowly stream in the olive oil, while whisking constantly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
-Toss to combine the quinoa, nuts, cranberries (and apricots, if using), celery, and green onions in a large bowl. Pour the vinaigrette over top and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

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