With the abundance of produce flowing from our garden [I think the New International should read "the land flowing with kale and summer squash"], I am always looking for creative and tasty ways to get more veggies into my diet and use the fruits of my labor. Conveniently, this time of year I tend to be drawn more towards cooler foods, like fresh vegetables, so this salad really fits the bill.
Quinoa [pronounced KEEN-whah] is one tough little seed that can easily be substituted for it's grainy cousins [think rice, wheat, etc.]. It grows best at high altitudes and under extreme ecological conditions giving this tiny guy a big advantage in the protein, endurance, and energy departments. Even though it's digestibility makes it an ideal food for the young, it sure aint no baby! Coming in ahead of the grain pack in it's protein content, it is equal [if not superior] to milk in quality and completeness [Got Quinoa? Catchy I think.]. It exceeds milk in the calcium content [seriously, it does] and is quite high in the scarce amino acid, lysine. Iron, phosphorous, the B vitamins, and vitamin E all find themselves wrapped up in this over-achieving, nutty little bundle.
So, here is the recipe that, most of the time, becomes a meal in itself. The best part is, I can pack it for an on-the-go lunch and know that I'm getting a meal packed with energy-boosting nutrients [no re-heating necessary].
1 c. uncooked quinoa
2 c. vegetable [or chicken] stock
1 c. chopped raw vegetables [I used zucchini, summer squash, carrots, and cucumber]
1/2 tsp. Real Salt sea salt
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/8 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. garlic salt
1/8 - 1/4 c. olive oil [optional - this will make it softer but stickier]
Mix together all spices and set aside. In medium saucepan, combine quinoa and stock. Bring to boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and let cook until liquid is gone and quinoa is light and fluffy [you could also sprout your quinoa and forgo the cooking option to make this a completely raw salad - remember to plan ahead on this]. Remove from heat and stir in spices [and oil if using, start with the smaller amount and add until desired texture is achieved], mixing well. Toss in vegetables and serve warm or refrigerate until cold.