Balsamic Quinoa Salad

balsamic-quinoa-saladThis recipe, originally shared in 2010 has been updated here.

 

For those of you who don’t already know, I have some really strange eating habits.  One of them is that I love salad for breakfast.  I am not even talking about quinoa salad.  Just a regular salad topped with my own balsamic vinegar dressing.  My boys call it mom’s “stinky salad” and refuse to sit with me while I eat it.  It doesn’t hurt my feelings – the adults in the family love it.  In fact, when I moved away the one thing that my mom asked me for was my balsamic vinaigrette recipe.

I must confess – I don’t actually measure anything when I make the recipe.  I just eyeball it and make it according to my mood.  Sometimes I will add more garlic or cayenne pepper.

Anyways, faced with nothing much in the house and temperatures hovering around 115 degrees, I decided to finally try making a quinoa recipe with my balsamic vinegar salad dressing.  Since I have also been trying to come up with more red quinoa recipes, I made this dish with red quinoa.  (NOTE: at the time of this initial pose I was not taking pictures and the photos were taken at a later date.)  I have found that using this method of cooking quinoa (boiling and steaming) is especially effective when making a red quinoa.    As a general rule, red quinoa takes a bit longer than white quinoa to cook, has a firmer texture and doesn’t absorb water quite as easily.  I also like to make this quinoa recipe – and many others – with a mixture of red and white quinoa.  It makes for a great presentation.  (When reading a recipe quinoa is almost always assumed to be white unless otherwise stated so you need to adjust your cooking times accordingly.)

 

The best quinoa recipe yet?

My husband’s response to this quinoa recipe was “What took you so long??? This is the best quinoa yet!”  I have to agree with him.  I really like this quinoa salad recipe. (If I do say so myself!)

Balsamic Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

  • ½ cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • ¼ - ½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (depending on if you are watching calories)
  • 2 T Dijon mustard
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • Salt, pepper and cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1 ½ cups quinoa
  • Bouillon cube
  • 5 Sun Dried Tomatoes (Not in oil)
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 4 oz blue cheese
  • 1 can black beans or 1 1/2 cups cooked, rinsed and drained

Instructions

  1. Make dressing by combining vinegar, mustard, garlic, shallots and olive oil. Season to taste.
  2. Add quinoa to three cups of boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes.
  3. Rinse with cool water and place in a fine mesh colander. Boil water and place quinoa and sun dried tomatoes in the colander over the water. Cover with a kitchen towel and lid. Steam for 10 minutes. Allow to cool.
  4. Cook red pepper in a small skillet until tender.
  5. Combine pepper and remaining ingredients with quinoa. Add dressing and toss. Enjoy!
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By the way, you may not need all of the dressing.  I didn’t!