Happy Independence Day 2012. Enjoy our freedom and celebrate with this salad featuring two nutritional powerhouse ingredients, kale and quinoa, k and q.
I took advantage of this week’s Ranui Gardens CSA assortment to incorporate as many veggies as possible—but know that this grain salad is very flexible. Just start with about 2 cups of any cooked grain, chop your own mixture of crunchy and leafy vegetables and allium (like scapes or scallions or shallots) and dress with acidic vinaigrette. For extra crunch and protein, toss in toasted affordable sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds, or splurge with pine nuts.
For today’s salad I steamed tri-color quinoa, but that is up to you. I also wilted the chopped kale, an idea from girlfriend Teri. We agree that it turns the kale more emerald in color and helps it absorb the dressing.
Quinoa and Kale Salad
1 cup quinoa
1/2 teaspoon plus 1 teaspoon Real Salt
1 ½ cups water
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup rice vinegar, or freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
Large pinch cayenne pepper
Garlic scapes, as desired
Green shallots, as desired
1 bunch curly kale, washed
1 cup chopped pea shoots
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro or flat-leaf parsley
Radishes, (or jicama or water chestnuts) cut in ½-inch dice
Rinse the quinoa well with hot water to remove the bitter saponin coating. Strain in a wire strainer.
In a saucepan, bring the water and ½ teaspoon of the salt to a boil. Add the quinoa, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the water is absorbed. (As for rice, do not stir, but check every so often by tilting the pan to the side to see if there is any water left to absorb.) When the quinoa is tender and the water is gone, let stand, covered, and allow to cool.
Make a dressing with the olive oil, rice vinegar, garlic, remaining salt and cayenne. Set aside.
Toss the garlic scapes with olive oil and salt and pepper. Cook them on a grill and chop them, or chop them and sauté in a pan until tender. Chop the green shallots and sauté with a bit of oil as well. Put these in a large bowl.
Strip and discard the stems from the kale—them chop into ¼-inch by 1-inch strips. If you wish, microwave for about 30 seconds. Add the kale to the bowl, along with the pea shoots, cilantro and radishes. If your refrigerator offers other interesting vegetables, add them as well.
Dump the cooled quinoa on top of the veggies and pour the vinaigrette on top. Toss everything well. Season to taste with more salt and cayenne. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. If you are adding nuts or seeds, toss them into the salad just before sharing with your friends and family.
Makes 8 to 10 servings, of course depending on what you put in your salad.