Although I try and limit our quinoa consumption (see below), one of our favorite summertime salads with quinoa is Citrus Quinoa Salad. The nutty flavour of the quinoa is joined by cucumbers, oranges, green onion, cilantro and peanuts. The salad is topped with lemon sesame vinaigrette which is oh so good. If you make extra vinaigrette, it is also good on mixed greens. I served Citrus Quinoa Salad with seared zucchini and grilled prawns that were butterflied and skewered.
Quinoa is a South American grain that is high in protein and lacks gluten. According to wikipedia, quinoa was domesticated by the Andean people 3,000 to 4,000 years ago. The grain has become increasingly popular in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, China and Japan where it is not typically grown, increasing crop value. Between 2006 and early 2013 quinoa crop prices tripled.
Although, the increase in crop prices is obviously good for the farmers, I learned firsthand while in Peru in 2011 that the increase in the price of quinoa was making the grain, once a staple of a Peruvian’s diet, for the most part unaffordable. They told me that the consequence of this was a lack of nutritious food for many people in Peru as imported junk food was cheaper. Here presents an ethical dilemma: continue to consume quinoa for our own nourishment, or cut back to stabilize the market and ensure it is available – at a fair price – to all?
Ultimately, we all must decide for ourselves. Here is an interesting article on the ethical dilemma surrounding quinoa.
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water
- dash of salt
- 1 cup diced unpeeled english cucumber
- ½ cup raisins, rinsed in cold water
- ½ cup peeled oranges, coarsly chopped
- ¼ cup chopped peanuts or sunflower seeds
- 2 green onions, sliced thinly
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
Lemon Sesame Vinaigrette:
- ½ lemon zested
- juice of one lemon
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- In a medium sized saucepan, add quinoa, water and a dash of salt.
- Cover and bring to a boil. Leaving the lid on the pot tightly, reduce heat and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes or until water is absorbed and quinoa is transparent.
- Remove from heat and let sit, covered for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and let the quinoa cool.
- In a medium sized salad bowl, combine quinoa, cucumber, raisins, oranges, peanuts, onions and cilantro.
- In a small bowl, mix together the lemon zest, lemon juice, sesame oil, sugar, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to mix.
- Serve immediately or let sit in the refrigerator for up to three days.