I’ve been hearing so much about quinoa lately but I have to admit I’ve never had it. That is, until now. Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wa”) is a seed-like whole grain that cooks just like rice. It was first eaten by Incan warriors as their fuel for battle because it gave them such good energy and power. Quinoa is not only high in protein but is also:
- high in fiber
- high in nutrients such as folate, thiamin, riboflavin and iron
- a good source of essential fatty acids
- easy to digest
Quinoa is naturally gluten-free, making it an excellent food for celiac patients or other people following a gluten-free diet. It’s also an excellent food for vegetarians and vegans, or for anyone looking for healthy protein source. It’s high in iron and calcium, and is a good source of manganese, magnesium and copper.
How’s that for a health lesson!? Sounds like a super food to me! I found a couple of quinoa recipes and decided to give this salad a try first.
Compliments of It’s a Keeper
½ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ – ½ cup best quality extra virgin olive oil (depending on if you are watching calories)
2 T Dijon mustard
6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
Salt, pepper and cayenne pepper, to taste
1 ½ cups quinoa
5 Sun Dried Tomatoes (Not in oil)
1 red pepper, chopped
4 oz blue cheese
1 can black beans
Make dressing by combining vinegar, mustard, garlic, shallots and olive oil. Season to taste. Add quinoa to three cups of boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes.
Rinse with cool water and place in a fine mesh colander. Boil water and place quinoa and sun dried tomatoes in the colander over the water. Cover with a kitchen towel and lid. Steam for 10 minutes. Allow to cool.
Cook red pepper in a small skillet until tender. Combine pepper and remaining ingredients with quinoa. Add dressing and toss.
Is It a Keeper?
This was an extremely flavorful salad! The tang of the vinegar was perfectly balanced by the creamy blue cheese. It was a very filling dish — perfect for an easy quick lunch or hearty side dish.
I did make a few tweaks to the recipe. I didn’t have any sun dried tomatoes, so I just left them out. It would’ve probably been even better with them. I also didn’t have a red bell pepper on hand (how did that happen?!?) but I did have a jar of roasted red bell peppers. So, I chopped some up and threw them in. Right from the jar.
You probably also won’t need all of the dressing. I didn’t! Save it and use it on another salad or to marinate some chicken. Yum!
This recipe did make quite a bit so I ended up taking some to work to share with my co-workers.
Nikki said, “it tickled her tastebuds.” Cute, huh?!? And, Karl ended up having some for breakfast! Breakfast?!?!
So, if you haven’t tried quinoa yet, you might want to give this super-food a whirl! It’s pretty good!
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Hi! I'm Christina, the chief cook and bottle washer at It's a Keeper. I love to cook and am a self proclaimed recipe hoarder who reads cook books cover to cover like most people read a juicy novel. Join me as I cook and bake my way through the pile of recipes that I've collected. Read more.
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