Superfood & Sage Quinoa Salad (my potluck go-to dish)

On December 20, 2012

Socially, this has been the year of the potluck.  And personally, I love it!   Here’s the thing, those parties are a total wild card.  You never know what people are going to throw down and you might even encounter a slew of dishes from around the world (e.g. last night I had this amazing Egyptian bean dish.  What?!?  It ruled).

The other reason I love a potluck? I know for sure there is going to be something that I can eat (aka whatever dish I bring).  When you roll through life with a gluten sensitivity, being cooked for can be kinda dicey.  So I’m always more than thrilled to bring a dish from my own kitchen.

Also, it feels kinda awesome to bring a super healthy dish to the table that people otherwise wouldn’t have considered.

This quinoa salad has seriously become my go-to whenever I am cooking for a group for a few reasons…

1) Quinoa makes people feel cool.  They are either psyched that they know about it/have eaten it or have been super curious about trying it…and knowing how to pronounce it (FYI, it’s keen-wah)

2) It’s really easy.  Start to finish I think it takes me about 30 minutes.  But if you’re making it for the first time give yourself 45.

3) Everyone goes crazy about how delicious it is.  I don’t mean to sound arrogant.  Really.  Every time I make it, I’m like “ho hum.  This is just my simple quinoa dish”.  But people seriously go nuts for it and want to eat bucket loads.  It’s weird, but amazing.

I would LOVE to know what you think of this!  Try it for your next potluck or simply make a big batch for yourself to eat throughout the week.  This makes for awesome leftovers.

Super Food + Sage Quinoa Salad

Servings: 4
Time: 25 minutes
What you need: 1 medium pot, 1 fine mesh sieve, 1 sauté pan, 1 large mixing bowl, tongs or a large serving spoon for mixing

  • 1 cup un-cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup water or vegetable stock
  • 2 big handfuls of baby arugula, kale or spinach
  • 1/4 cup naturally sweetened dried cranberries or goji berries
  • 1/4 cup black sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup toasted, unsalted peppitas
  • 1 sweet onion, diced in ½” pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, separated
  • 2-3 sage leaves, finely sliced
  • Sea salt & pepper to taste

Lemon Dijon Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 lemon) (Optional: add zest)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon honey (optional)

 

Directions

Combine 1-cup quinoa with 1-cup water, 1-tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1-teaspoon sea salt and a pinch of black pepper (you can also throw in a spring of thyme or rosemary, but that’s not necessary).

Bring it up to a boil, then cover and reduce to simmer.  Cook for 15 minutes, untouched, then remove from heat.  Keep it covered and allow it to sit for another 5 minutes.  Then fluff with a fork (and fish out the fresh herbs, if used)

While the quinoa is cooking, sauté the diced onion in a pan over medium-high heat with remaining tablespoon of olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  When the onions start to soften, after about 2-3 minutes add in the garlic and sage and sauté until golden brown.  Put onion in a large bowl and cover with the arugula and dried fruit.

Next, prepare the dressing by putting all ingredients in a bowl or jar with a tight lid and mixing or shaking well.

To assemble the dish first place your greens and the cranberries in a large mixing bowl.  Add your sautéd onions and warm quinoa to the bowl and toss well to wilt the greens.    Drizzle on the dressing (you can start light at first, then add more) and mix well.  Finally add the pepitas and black sesame seeds then continue to toss so everything is fully incorporated.

 

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