My first time making quinoa was not a good experience. It was probably about 10 years ago, before quinoa hit its hype stride. I tried using it in place of rice in a stir-fry dish and I was sorely disappointed by its texture. If I were not so OCD about food waste, it probably would have gone in the trash!
Now I have come to learn there’s a time and a place for quinoa. I think it does wonders for vegetable dishes, salads and soups, the way it adds a great crunchiness and texture.
One of the best quinoa dishes I ever had was at Zoubi’s in New Hope, and I’ve been trying to recreate the dish at home ever since. The Crunchy Hipster Salad, as they called it, had house-pickled veg, nuts/seeds and dried fruit. It was different every time we went, and it was delicious every time, which leads me to believe the formula is fairly simple.
Quinoa + pickled veg + nuts/seeds + dried fruit + simple dressing =
healthy lunch or dinner when you need it
I have made this salad a handful of times and it always ends up very flavorful and also very filling! A quick pickle of whatever veg you have in the house will do. I had some beautiful watermelon radishes and beets from Blue Moon Acres so those were a no-brainer. I love pumpkin seeds here, but you could also use sunflower or slivered almonds. Rehydrated cranberries or golden raisins add some much needed sweetness. Finally, a dressing created with the vinegar from the quick-pick, some bright citrus and olive oil is all you really need.
Crunchy Hipster Salad
Inspired by Zoubi Restaurant
2 cups quinoa, prepared to package description
6 small watermelon radishes, thinly sliced
4 small beets, any color, peeled & thinly sliced
½ small red onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup golden raisins, soaked in hot water for 5 minutes
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup of your favorite vinegar (white, rice, apple cider all work well)
1 small lemon wedge
- Thinly slice all vegetables with a mandolin.
- In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup of vinegar,1/2 cup water and a pinch of sugar and salt to a boil. Throw in the sliced beets and let them boil for about 5 minutes to soften them. Turn off heat and let cool before putting in a container (with a lid). Mix in red onions, put on the lid and store in the fridge.
- In another small container (with a lid), cover watermelon radishes with ½ cup of vinegar and ½ cup of water. Store in fridge.
- Let the veg sit in the vinegar for at least 30 minutes to an hour (can be done the night before).
- After the veg has been taken care of, cook the quinoa to the package directions.
- Fluff quinoa with a fork, and let cool in the fridge for about 30 minutes, until the pickled vegetables are ready to use.
- In a large bowl mix up the quinoa with all of the vegetables, pouring in small amounts of the pickling liquid at a time until you get to a vinegar level you are happy with. I find that it takes about ½ a cup.
- Drizzle in some olive oil, squeeze with a small lemon wedge, season with salt and serve!