Saturday, October 17, 2009

Quinoa salad with peas and pine nuts

This dish has four ingredients (five if you count water), and I don't think it could be improved. I intended to dress it with sesame-lemon dressing, but it was so darn good without it that I left it alone. Later I did try it dressed, and it was not nearly as good. The pine nuts are so rich and toasty that the dressing just seems sharp and unnecessary. Jon says I should call this a salad, but I think the pine nuts make it somewhat pilaf-y as well. I could definitely see this served in a butternut or acorn squash for an attractive Thanksgiving treat.

It's funny, I normally have quinoa in the pantry, but I don't actually cook it very often. This week, I've made it three times, and now it's all gone. I guess making it the first time just reminded me how good it was, so I made it some more. I think quinoa is a really good dish to take in for lunch if you don't have leftovers handy. The quinoa itself only takes about 20 minutes to cook, and while it's cooking, you can prep whatever veggies, beans, or nuts you want. You have a healthy, tasty lunch in just 20 minutes.

Quinoa salad with peas and pine nuts

1/4 cup pine nuts
3/4 cups quinoa (I used a mix of white and red)
generous pinch of salt
1 cup frozen peas

First, toast the pine nuts. I spread them out on a tray in the toaster oven and click "toast" and take them out the moment I can see that they've started to brown. You can also toast them in a dry skillet over medium heat. Set aside to cool.
Combine quinoa with 1 1/2 cups water and a large pinch of salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. Stir in the peas and pine nuts. It's OK if the peas are still frozen. The heat from the quinoa will defrost them, and they'll bring the temperature of the quinoa down so you can eat it sooner. Serve warm or room temperature, not cold.

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