Although Quinoa has been around forever, it is only recently that it has increased in popularity due to its super food properties.
Quinoa is gluten free and rich in antioxidants and amino acids.
I have to confess that we didn’t care too much about quinoa until we started to eat it out. However, I wasn’t too fond of it – I just found that it was quite undercooked or soggy at times.
So I started making it at home and by trial and error I discovered that the best way to obtain a fluffy quinoa is to simmer it uncovered for 10-15 minutes – until all liquid has evaporated – then cover it and let finish cooking in its own steam for a few minutes.
You also need to rinse it well through a fine mesh before you cook it in order to wash off all the bitterness from the outside.
The nutty flavor of the quinoa mixed with the tanginess of the arugula, makes this salad an absolute winner.
I decided to add feta, basil, cucumbers, and pine nuts to add a mediterranean touch and to make my own version of a salad we had at CPK. I also added an avocado to complete the super food combo.
You can make the quinoa in advance and then toss your salad whenever you are ready to eat, it is super quick to make and so satisfying!
This salad is an awesome alternative for meatless Mondays as a main dish and is perfect as a side dish as well. I should warn you though, this salad is extremely addictive 🙂
Here’s what you need:
Quinoa Salad with Arugula
Serves 4 as a side dish - 2 as a main dish
For the salad:
4 cups of baby arugula – or a 4 oz bag
1/2 cup of quinoa , cooked
1/4 cup of pine nuts, toasted
3/4 to 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup of english cucumber, thinly sliced
1/2 cup of feta cheese, crumbled
3 tsp of green onions, chopped
3 tbs of fresh basil, chopped
1/2 avocado (optional)
For the lemon vinaigrette:
1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/8 tsp of salt and black pepper – to taste
To cook the quinoa you can follow the package instructions. For this salad I used 1/4 cup of quinoa and 1/2 cup of water. Just rinse the quinoa with water through a fine mesh strainer for a few seconds. Place de quinoa and add the water in a small-medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 10-12 minutes or until water has completely evaporated. Add salt to taste, stir and cover for 5 more minutes. Fluff with a fork.
Place the arugula in a large salad bowl, add the quinoa, tomatoes, cucumber, pine nuts, feta cheese, basil, green onions and avocado.
For the vinaigrette: Place lemon juice salt and pepper and slowly whisk the olive oil in or just place all ingredients in a mason jar and shake well.
Drizzle the vinaigrette all over the salad and mix, adjust salt and pepper if necessary.
I like to garnish with more feta, basil and pine nuts before serving.