Meanwhile it's blueberry season.....
I must apologies for posting a little less frequency of late. It's summer and we have been busy.. or rather not so busy, it's just the WIFI is kinda spotty in my favourite corner of the yard out by the pool. I've also discovered that typing an entire blog post with one finger on the Ipad is rather tedious 🙂 So forgive me.
This salad should make up for my laziness. Blueberries, pistachios and a sweet gingery dressing, this salad is awesome. If I'm allowed to say that kind of thing. This salad is a great take along for picnics and potlucks. It doesn't need to be kept cold. Leftovers keep well too. I'm all about leftovers for lunch.
Call the kids to help with shelling the pistachios. It takes a while. Luckily I had two eager helpers... who ate twice what they shelled.
How I cook Quinoa:
Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh sieve under cool running water. Quinoa can be bitter; there is a bitter sap covering the seeds. Most of this sap is removed in the commercial varieties you find in the stores these days, but I find a rinse still helpful and improves the flavour. Allow to drip dry.
Heat a medium-sized sauce pan over medium high heat and add quinoa. The extra rinse water will steam off and eventually the quinoa will begin to toast a bit. Toasting the grains adds a nice nutty flavour. This step is not essential, if you are short on time you can skip it. It will take about 5 minutes total. Stir constantly and you will begin to smell the grains as they start to toast.
For water I do a 2-1 ratio most of the time. 1 cup water for every ½ cup of quinoa. Mostly because this is easy for me to remember. I generally just use water and a pinch of salt. You could use stock or veggie broth for more flavour - in certain recipes. For this salad just use water.
Add the water, a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until water is completely absorbed. Remove pot from heat and allow to sit, off the heat and covered for 5-10 minutes. This will allow the grains to soak up any remaining liquid in the pan and any grains stuck to the bottom will loosen, making clean up easier.
At this point, remove the cover, fluff with a fork and let some steam out before serving. For cold salads like this, or anything that is tossed with a dressing, I like to cook the quinoa the day before. It's kinda like rice that way. The best fried rice is made with day-old rice. Same with quinoa, fried quinoa, or here where the grains are toss with a salad dressing, benefits from an overnight dry-out. Just throw it in a airtight container and store in the fridge for a day. Of course, it wouldn't be the end of the world if you made this salad the same day. An acceptable compromise is to get the grains out of the hot pan and into a large bowl with lots of room and just let them air out for a while before mixing the salad.
Quinoa and Blueberry Salad with Pistachios
for the salad
- 1.5 cups quinoa
- 3 cups water
- 3 cups blueberries
- 1 cup pistachios
- 4 green onions white and green parts finely sliced
- 1 cup parsley chopped
for the dressing:
- ¼ cup orange juice fresh or concentrate
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 lime - zest and juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2-3 teaspoons freshly grated ginger pulp about a scant 1 inch piece grated
- salt to taste
- Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh sieve under cool running water. Allow to drip dry. Heat a medium sauce pan over medium high heat and add quinoa. The extra water will steam off and eventually the quinoa will begin to toast a bit. Takes about 5 minutes total, you should start to smell the grains as they toast. Add 3 cups of water, a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until water is completely absorbed. Remove from heat and allow to sit covered for 10 minutes or so then fluff with a fork. Allow quinoa to cool before assembling salad. This step can be done the day before.
For the dressing:
- Combine orange juice through ginger in a small mason jar and shake to combine. Adjust seasonings. You may want to add a bit more ginger. Set aside.
To assemble salad:
- Toss quiona, blueberries, green onions and pistachios in a large bowl. Add dressing and parsley. Toss well to combine. Serve slightly chilled or even room temperature.