Saturday, February 15, 2014

#TheSaladBar for February: Grains...Featuring Grapefruit & Quinoa Salad

This month, #TheSaladBar is featuring salads made with healthy grains like barley, millet, couscous…and quinoa. I’ve been curious about quinoa for a while, but I never got around to actually buying any to play around with in my kitchen. Now that I’ve tried it, I can’t wait to start incorporating it into more meals! Luckily, I took part in a cooking class sponsored by TexaSweet Citrus last week that featured a fabulous quinoa-citrus salad. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to share the recipe with you today. Grapefruit & Quinoa Salad is full of healthy ingredients like Texas citrus, crunchy veggies, a bit of spice, and quinoa…all tossed with a citrus-ginger dressing. 
If you’ve not tried quinoa before, I hope this recipe will inspire you to give it a try! It's very filling thanks to its high fiber content, and it’s a complete protein on its own. That makes it perfect for the weekly meatless day that we recently introduced. This salad makes a ton and is a snap to make. Truth told, the most time-consuming part of this recipe is making the citrus supremes and finely dicing the carrots, but you can do that ahead of time and store them in the fridge in air-tight containers until you're ready to assemble the salad. Once the prep work is done, the actual assembly of the salad takes only a few minutes. This refreshing salad is the perfect antidote for the Winter Blues, reminding us that – hopefully -- Spring is just around the corner.

Grapefruit & Quinoa Salad
Recipe courtesy of TexaSweet Citrus Marketing
  • 1 Rio Star ruby red grapefruit, sectioned
  • 1 large Texas naval orange, sectioned
  • 8 thin strips fresh ginger
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup dried quinoa
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tbs. vinegar
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 1 small serrano or jalapeno, seeded and finely minced
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 tbs. chopped cilantro
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Step 1: Strip the peel from the grapefruit with a peeler, making sure to not include the bitter white pith. Warm the olive oil, grapefruit peel and ginger strips in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once the oil begins to bubble up (approx. 2 minutes), take the pan off the heat. Let the oil, peel and ginger steep for about 30 minutes. Strain and reserve the oil in a small container.

Step 2: While the oil steeps, rinse the quinoa in a large bowl and drain. Place the rinsed quinoa in a saucepan with 1.5 cups water and the salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cook uncovered for 15 minutes, then set aside off the heat for 5 minutes. Place the cooked quinoa in a large mixing bowl and fluff with a fork. Let the quinoa cool while you segment the grapefruit and orange. Place the supremes into a bowl and squeeze any remaining juice into a separate bowl. Mix 3 tbs. of the reserved citrus juice with the vinegar, honey and salt &Y pepper to taste. Gradually whisk in 3 tbs. of the infused oil, until you have a slightly thick vinaigrette. Add the dressing, scallions, carrot, chile, and cilantro to the quinoa and give it a toss to combine.

Step 4: Add the reserved citrus supremes to the bowl and carefully fold into the quinoa mixture, just until combined. Be gentle so  you don’t break up the segments! Serve the salad warm or at room temperature. It can be a side salad or a light lunch.

I really enjoyed this's refreshing from the double dose of citrus, and the quinoa is quite filling. I also appreciate the spicy punch provided by the ginger, cilantro and jalapeno. I also think that adding a bit of crumbly feta to this salad would work really nicely if serving it as a main course lunch or light dinner. If you're a citrus lover, I hope you'll come back Monday and Wednesday to check out the rest of my TexaSweet citrus meal that I'm serving this weekend. In the meantime, I hope you'll check out the rest of the fabulous grain-based salads the other #TheSaladBar participants are sharing.

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