I probably avoided eating, cooking, or ordering quinoa due to the sheer fact that I had no idea how to pronounce it. But I'm proud to say that now I can pronounce it with confidence, and I can't get enough of it! If you've never had quinoa, it's very similar to couscous but with a firmer texture and slightly nuttier flavor. Quinoa is also packed with protein and hence super-filling-- ideal for vegetarians!
Another favorite food of mine is sweet potatoes (Mmm sweet potato fries). This Mark Bittman recipe combines the best of both my quinoa and sweet potato worlds. Plus it's super healthy... which I need these days after watching many, many episodes of Gossip Girl and realizing how beautiful the clothes are! *curse you Trader Joe Candy Cane Joe-Joe's*
This recipe is very adaptable in that you can pretty much add whatever suits your palette. My favorite additions usually include chickpeas and feta (which I kept out this time to keep it vegan and healthier... remember, the clothes, people!) Feel free to add whatever other goodies, i.e. arugula, crumbled goat cheese, pomegranate seeds, etc. suit your taste (and figure).
Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad adapted from Mark Bittman
- 2 ½ cups cooked quinoa (1 cup uncooked)
- 1 large or 2 medium (about 1 pound) sweet potatoes
- 1 roasted red bell pepper, diced
- ¾ cup chickpeas (about ½ can)
- ¼ cup minced red onion or shallot, finely diced
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup fresh parsley
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- freshly ground black pepper
(1) Cook the quinoa according to the directions on the package. Once cooked, let cool completely. (2) While the quinoa is cooking, peel the sweet potatoes and dice into ½-inch cubes. Cook in boiling salted water until fork tender, about 15 minutes; once done, wash in cold water to stop further cooking and drain well. (3) In a large bowl, toss together the quinoa, sweet potatoes, roasted bell pepper and onion. Add the oil and vinegar, and sprinkle with cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. (4) Using kitchen sheers, snip in the fresh parsley then toss the salad. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Let the salad sit for at least an hour to allow for all the flavors to blend together.
Makes 4 servings