Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Minted Quinoa Fruit Salad

OK! It's been a few days since I've blogged. The Sony digital cam hath shit the bed and I couldn't find the HP. (I prefer the HP, actually, funny, cheaper camera but MUCH easier to use...go figure)

Anyway...we're getting ready to go on a road trip and I wanted to take something good, different and healthy along for our friend. So, searching around the web I found a Quinoa fruit salad. Hrmmmm, sounds really good. Except I had none of the things their salad called for...so...screw it, here goes!

If you've never had quinoa before, try some. It's really very good, albeit it a bit bland. But a VERY healthy alternative to rice and other starches. Quinoa is 12-18% protein, so it's a very friendly 'grain' for vegetarians. Quinoa isn't actually a grain, and is more closely related to the beet than wheat or oats. The seeds are harvested and cooked, although the greens can be eaten as well.

I've only done quinoa as a savory dish before, with sausage and onions, a bit of cumin, it's delicious! So, this was going to be a bit of an adventure. One I'm glad I took, it's delicious! Added to the fact that you get dairy from the yugurt, fruits from, well, the fruit and all that protein, bonus...something good that's good for me for a change.

So, here we go...I had on hand oranges that needed to be used before they went off, some blueberries, mango juice...so...we have orange mango minted quinoa salad. Use whatever fruits you have handy...well, as long as they go well together. I don't think I'd want watermelon or other melons in this...but...apples, banana, strawberries, kiwi...whatever you have on hand. In a pinch, canned mandarin oranges would work.

First, I cut the orange into supremes. This is not as difficult as it sounds, and really, you should do this for all citrus fruits being put into a salad. First, cup the top and bottom off the orange, through the pith but not too deep into the flesh, like so...

Then, cut from the top down the sides, removing peel and white pith, like this...

Now, holding it in your hand, cut on one side of a section, then down the other, the orange section, sans membrane, will drop into your bowl underneath. (Oh yeah, do this part over the bowl unless you want them going SPLAT onto your counter top)

Minted Fruit and Yogurt Quinoa Salad

1 C uncooked Quinoa
2 C water
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 C Plain Yogurt
1 Tbls Sugar
1/3 cup fresh mint (I'm spoiled, it grows wild in the back yard)
2 Tbls Mango juice (or orange, or pineapple, depends on what you have)
4 oranges, Supremed
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (or strawberries, or black berries, or,...)

Put 2 cups water, 1 cup quinoa and 1/4 tsp salt into pan and bring to boil. Cook for 15 minutes or so, until water is absorbed and quinoa is translucent and you can see the root around the edges. Remove from heat.

Pull the leaves from the mint stems and rinse. Chuck the mint, juice, sugar and yogurt in the food processor and pulse it until the mint is finely chopped.

Add fruit and yogurt dressing to bowl and mix. Add the cooked quinoa and fold it all together. Chill for 1-2 hours.

Yum! (OK, if you aren't used to or familiar with quinoa, it may look a bit odd. Trust me. Yum. Try it. It's good for you! And really, I don't care how good something is for you, if it's gross, I won't eat it. I love this!)

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