Sunday, January 19, 2014

Quinoa and Kale Salad: Learning to love a superfood

I was never a quinoa fan. I'd tried it several places - at a certain high-end organic food store, at a restaurant, on my own... and I couldn't seem to find taste in the blandly curling seeds. And then, this summer, friends of mine made quinoa burgers, and they were... good. Really good. Good enough to make me reconsider my anti-quinoa stance and try cooking it again. Burgers, salads, and breakfasts later, I have my own quinoa recipe, one that I like to use when I'm feeling a need to eat something satisfying, gluten-free, and virtuously delicious. Depending on how hungry you are, the recipe makes about 6-8 servings as a side dish and 3-4 servings as a main dish.

Quinoa and Kale Salad with Oranges and Feta

1 cup uncooked white or ivory quinoa
1 onion
1 bunch of kale (7-8 big leaves)
2-3 oranges
3/4 cup of feta, crumbled
1 tsp olive oil

1 tbsp and 1 tsp olive oil
2 tsp citrus fruit flavored balsamic vinegar or fresh squeezed lemon juice (about half a lemon)
Sea salt

1. Make the quinoa according to the package's directions. Generally, that means rinsing the quinoa, bringing it to a boil in a pot of salted water (trust me on the salt here - add it even if the directions don't tell you to), and then letting it simmer for about 15 minutes.

2. Dice the onion, then cut the kale up like so: fold the leaf over so that the spine is on one side, and the leaf-ends match up. Cut the stem off, then, working perpendicular to the stem-line, slice the kale in ribbons.

3. Saute the onion for 5-7 minutes, then add the kale for another 4-5 minutes. The onion should be translucent and the kale should be a jewel-tone green.

4. As the onion and kale cook, slice the orange like this: slice off the top and bottom of the orange. Moving around in a circle, cut off the skin and the pith (white part right under the skin) in strips. If you want to get fancy, "supreme" the orange: make a cut right next to the white membrane, then move your knife over and make a cut just inside the next membrane (for a nicely coherent instruction guide with excellent demonstration pictures, take a look at How to Supreme an Orange). Slice the supremed slices in 3-4 chunks.

5. Mix the vinaigrette - olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice, and sea salt to taste.

6. Combine the cooked quinoa, onions, kale, oranges, and feta cheese. Season with vinaigrette, adding more olive oil, vinegar/juice, or salt as needed, and stir.

7. Eat and feel super for chowing down on a superfood.

1 comment:

  1. Kale? Quinoa? Sounds like a brilliant combo to me! And citrus too? Yeah, that's what we'd call a jackpot.

    One really interesting thing I've been doing with quinoa lately is putting it in cookies. Try oatmeal quinoa cranberry cookies. Oh-so-yummy.