I picked up a huge, gorgeous broccoli at one of our favourite seasonal roadside stands (the kind where you choose what you want and leave your money in the unattended jar) and planned to steam in and serve it with quinoa. However, when I looked in the fridge, I had a few fresh herbs hanging around, and I wanted to incorporate some of my dehydrated cherry tomatoes that burst with flavour in your mouth, so instead I made a Quinoa, Broccoli and Sun-Dried Tomato Salad. This salad can be served either warm or cold. I enjoyed it so much that after I made it one evening I tossed a couple of pieces of organic tofu on top and ate it again for breakfast the next morning.
The star ingredient in this dish is quinoa. I adore the versatility of quinoa. It can be served in both savoury and sweet dishes to be enjoyed at any meal.
Facts about quinoa
- We categorize quinoa as a grain, but it is actually a seed that is related to spinach, chard and beets.
- It comes in a variety of colors, from ivory to red to black.
- Quinoa is gluten free and is a good source of fiber
- It consists of about 20% protein, contains all of the essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein), and is a great protein source for vegans.
- Quinoa is high in B vitamins, including folate. B vitamins are needed for brain function, cell metabolism and energy.
- It is an excellent source of magnesium. Magnesium is needed for cardiovascular health and energy production, for a healthy immune system, to support nerves, muscles and bones, and helps brain function. Magnesium also plays a role in sleep quality.
- Quinoa contains both soluble and insoluble fiber to support optimal digestion.
- It is rich in flavonoids to help reduce free radical damage and oxidative stress.
Rinsing and cooking quinoa
Before cooking quinoa, it should be thoroughly rinsed. Like many plants, quinoa is naturally coated with saponin, a bitter compound that repels insects. Rinsing well will remove the saponins and the bitterness. Cooking quinoa is like cooking rice, with one part quinoa to 2 parts water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until water is absorbed. If you wish to change the flavour profile, replace the water with vegetable stock, or use part water and part orange juice or apple cider. If you’d like a nuttier taste, quinoa can be dry roasted in a skillet for five minutes before cooking.
Quinoa can be used as a side dish, in stews, soup, pilaf, as cereal, or salad. It can also be ground dry into a flour or sprouted and eaten raw. We most often eat quinoa as a side dish instead of rice, but this week it’s all about the Quinoa, Broccoli and Sun-Dried Tomato Salad.
Quinoa, Broccoli and Sun-Dried Tomato Salad
- 1 cup quinoa rinsed and drained
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup broccoli chopped
- ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes
- ½ cup cilantro optional
- ½ cup parsley
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- ⅓ cup lemon juice
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- Measure water and add water and rinsed quinoa to medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes, until water is absorbed.
- While quinoa is simmering, chop broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes and herbs.
- Add lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper to a jar to make the dressing. Shake until mixture emulsifies.
- Transfer quinoa to a large bowl. Add chopped broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, herbs, pine nuts and dressing and toss until salad is combined. Serve warm or cold.