Touted as the world’s healthiest food, quinoa is a plant grown for its edible seeds. Quinoa has been the staple food of people in the Andes region but only started to become popular in the First World some ten years ago.
This rise in popularity is not without repercussions. While some claim that the demand for quinoa is good for quinoa growers in the Andes, there is also a disturbing claim that as the demand rose and the price of quinoa skyrocketed, poor people in the Andes can now hardly afford it.
I personally don’t know which is true but I’ve been curious enough to buy a bag and try it. Unlike couscous which we have sworn off, cooked quinoa has a lovely texture. And it’s so easy to prepare too. Boil one part quinoa with three parts water until the water has been absorbed and that’s it!
Plain boiled quinoa became the base of this salad that I prepared for Sam today.
- 1/4 cup quinoa
- 1/2 cup finely sliced white cabbage
- pepper to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon grated garlic
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons sun-dried tomato pesto (see notes below)
- 1 heaping tablespoon sliced black olives
- 1 tablespoon finely sliced scallions
- 1 to 2 tomatoes de-seeded and cut into small cubes
- lime or lemon juice to taste
Rinse the quinoa, drain and dump into a small pan. Pour in three-fourth cup of water. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Fluff up the quinoa with a fork and cool.
While the quinoa cooks, blanch the cabbage in salted water for three minutes. Drain and cool.
Place the quinoa and cabbage in a mixing bowl. Add the sun-dried tomato pesto and toss until every grain is coated. Taste. Season with salt and pepper.
Toss in the olives, scallions and tomatoes.
Drizzle in the lime or lemon juice. Toss. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.
Serve the quinoa salad with sun-dried tomato pesto with toasted bread.
Sun-dried tomato pesto is sold in jars. If unavailable, process sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil with some garlic until pasty. Add salt and pepper, stir in grated Parmesan and you have sun-dried tomato pesto.