Sunday, January 16, 2011

Warrior Salad

About 10 years ago I heard about a grain, which is not really a grain, but a seed from the spinach family called quinoa. Pronounced keen-wah. Of course I was pronouncing it kin-oa for the longest time. Thank you to whomever told me I was saying it wrong. Anyway, I've just recently embraced quinoa into my diet and am excited about it's versatility. And even more thrilled to share how high it is in protein, vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidents. It has a fabulous nutty flavor and is a wonderful accompaniment to main dishes and can stand alone in a salad as I experienced today. Originally I planned on preparing 2 dishes with quinoa- a high protein chicken and bean salad and a quinoa chicken soup. I never got to the soup, so if that recipe is as good as I think it will be, I'll post it later in the week. The reason I'm calling this dish Warrior Salad is because legend says that the Incas, before they went to battle, used to eat quinoa to give them strength and victory. So let's forge on and get to this tasty recipe. First thing I did was season and roast 2 bone-in chicken breasts in the oven at 350 degrees for 50 minutes and set them aside to cool.
To cook the quinoa you'll need:
2 tsp canola oil
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 tsp salt
1 14.5 can chicken broth (low sodium, fat free)
3/4 cup water

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium/high heat. Add onions and quinoa and toast about 4 minutes, until the seeds of the quinoa are golden brown. Add salt, chicken broth and water. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 18-20 minutes. Remove from heat, cool and prepare salad.

To make the salad you'll need:
1 can (15.5 oz) canellini beans, drained and rinsed
3-4 scallions chopped
10 Kalamata olives sliced
1 roasted red pepper diced (I used a jarred pepper)
1 roasted chicken breast, skinned and shredded or diced
1/4 cup golden raisns (optional)
3 oz goat cheese

Juice of one lemon
2 T olive oil
1 T rice vinegar
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 T store bought hummus
salt and pepper

Whisk all ingredients together to form an emulsion.

Combine 2 cups of quinoa with salad ingredients, dressing and toss. Garnish with cilanto leaves if you like. And of course, pack some for lunch the next day.

Save the left over quinoa for the delicious soup we'll be making in a day or two. I can't wait for that!

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