Sunday, July 3, 2011

Quinoa Caprese Salad

This salad is a variation on the traditional Tomato Caprese by adding the versatile cooked Quinoa as an additional ingredient. 
Quinoa (pronounced ‘kinwa’) is a species of goosefoot which is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. It is a pseudo cereal rather than a true cereal so quinoa is actually closely related to species such as beets and spinach or Swiss chard.  Quinoa cooks up with a fluffy, creamy and very slight crunchy texture.  It has a slight nutty flavor when cooked and it makes a great alternative to white rice or couscous.
Quinoa’s protein content is very high (12%–18%) and is considered a great source of ‘complete protein.’ A complete protein includes all nine essential amino acids which is very unusual among plant foods. 
Ingredients
        1 Cup – Quinoa
        2 Cup -- Water
        1 Lb. Grape Tomatoes, Quartered
        8 Oz.  Mozzarella Pearls (the small balls)
        Fresh Basil Leaves, Cut Into Ribbons
        ¾ Tsp. Himalayan Pink Salt
        ½ Tsp. Fresh ground Pepper
        Extra Virgin Olive Oil
        Options:
Ø  Use dried ground basil if fresh herbs are not available
Ø  Add a touch of Balsamic Vinegar with the EVOO

Directions
1.     Rinse the Quinoa seeds
2.     Prepare quinoa by boiling 2 cups lightly salted water plus 1 cup quinoa.
3.     Reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes then remove and stir then let stand for 3-5 minutes.
4.     Drain in a fine sifter/strainer and dump contents into a medium mixing/serving bowl.
5.     This recipe can be served hot or cold (the Quinoa)
o    Either let it cool completely or
o    Immediately after draining the Quinoa add in the tomatoes, cheese, basil, salt and pepper.
6.     Drizzle about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil over top and serve!