I really don’t like to admit it, but my clothes feel a bit snug these days. Maybe it’s the chocolate-chippers I’ve been “taste-testing.” Or was it the three cakes I baked last night? Milou thought I was nuts. Hey, I just couldn’t sleep. So I thought I’d make myself useful. The cakes were different flavors, too. We’ve got your peach – coconut and your coconut-lime-pineapple and the star was a cinnamon-scented orange-raisin cake. That’s right. THREE. Because life shouldn’t be boring. Each of them got rave reviews from my critics. Don’t worry Right now, I’ve got no business chomping on cake. I’m making on an Aromatic Quinoa Salad, instead.
And revamping an old favorite, my aromatic quinoa salad. This is a close cousin to the one I make for Daisy almost every night. Our little blue-eyed beauty won’t eat much else. She doesn’t seem to like herbs, which I find odd, because both Shawn & I love them. I’d forgotten how wonderfully delicious this salad is. A couple tablespoons of pomegranate syrup add some extra zing.You know how I feel about dieting. This quinoa is salad so lip-smackin’ good, I forget I’m counting calories.
But bikini season is looming and I’m wishing I cast a Sophia-Loren shadow. If you’re like me and wanna lose a couple of pounds, consider this: Eat more protein, especially at suppertime. It tames the hunger beast and helps those pounds come off.
Now, protein doesn’t mean rib-eye steaks. Try quinoa. Weird little word has picked up quite a celebrity rep lately.
A complete protein that’s quick to cook, easy to flavor. Endless possibilities. Here’s one:
This salad is so delicious, you will not even care that it is good for you. The turmeric is one of the cancer-fighting elements here, but must not be added until after the onion and garlic have fried. If added too early, the turmeric
prevents them from browning.
Aromatic Quinoa Salad
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 15 mins
2 cups quinoa
4 cups water
1 small onion
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 tsp turmeric
4 fresh scallions
1/3 cup fresh Persian mint
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup fresh dill
1/3 cup fresh basil
2 fresh tomatoes
2 Tb pomegranate molasses (optional)
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, raisins or currants
1 lemon juiced, 1/2 zest*
Salt + Pepper to taste
Toss the quinoa into a pot and add just enough water to cover it.
Give it a gentle stir, cover the pot and set it onto medium heat.
While quinoa is cooking, heat a pan gently, add the olive oil.
Chop a small onion and add to the pan.
Once the onion starts turning color, add the garlic and continue
cooking a couple more minutes.
Add the turmeric. Cook a few more minutes, then turn the heat off
and allow the onion/garlic mixture to cool.
Wash and finely chop the fresh herbs and tomatoes.
Add juice and zest of the lemon, currants or sun-dried tomatoes and oil.
The quinoa is cooked once the water has evaporated and the germ thread appears, about 15 mins.
Add the warm quinoa to the rest of the ingredients and stir gently.
The warmth of the grain will plump up the currants and release
the aromatic oils of the herbs.
Juice a lemon and grate the zest. Add the juice and 1/2 the zest to the salad.
*Don’t waste the remaining lemon zest. Use it to make dessert!
You deserve it for being so good.
Finish with the pomegranate molasses gently mixed into the quinoa.
Season with salt & pepper to taste.
Enjoy this salad as a side dish or main. Every bite has a wonderful fragrance from the herbs, sweetness from the dried fruits and tang from the pomegranate and lemon. It also makes an excellent stuffing for grape leaves, if you can get Toula to wrap them for ya. Remember diet is a filthy 4-letter word. Go whip up some of this salad and wash your mouth out with soap!