Peruvian Quinoa Salad

"Quinoa is a grain enjoyed by the peoples of the Andes for thousands of years," says Juan Placencia, chef/owner of Costanera in Montclair.  "It is packed with fiber, iron and calcium, is considered a complete protein, and is gluten free. At Costanera, I make a delicious quinoa salad with a quick lime dressing made in a blender."

Peruvian Quinoa Salad

"In Peru, quinoa is usually consumed in stews and soups, or as a substitute for breakfast oatmeal. Today’s Peruvian chefs use quinoa in desserts, breads, tamales and as a coating for fried items in place of breadcrumbs. Just like pasta, quinoa can be cooked in salted boiling water.

"In this recipe, you can substitute other nuts and dried fruit for the ones called for. You can even add other grains and legumes, like chickpeas, lentils or bulgar.

"This recipe makes enough quinoa salad to serve four as a side dish. The dressing recipe yields about three times as much as you need for that purpose. Use the extra on a green salad, as a vegan dip for vegetable crudites, or as a tasty twist on tuna salad."

SERVINGS: Salad = 4 side dishes, Dressing = 15 servings


For the quinoa:
2/3 cup dry white quinoa

2/3 cup dry red quinoa

1 1/2 gal. cold water

3 tb kosher or sea salt

For the Lime Citronette:

1 cup FRESH Lime Juice

1/3 cup good quality tarragon vinegar, champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar

1/2 tsp French Dijon mustard

1/4 red onion

1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper

1/2 clove, garlic

1 tb kosher or sea salt

1 cup extra virgin olive oil


For the Salad:

The cooked and cooled quinoa (about 4 cups)
1/3 cup lime citronette
 1/4 cup chopped almonds, toasted
1/4 cup dried sour cherries or dried cranberries
2 tb fresh flat leaf parsley or cilantro,chopped        
1/2 roma tomato, seeded and diced                          
kosher or sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste


For the Quinoa:

1.  Bring the water and salt to a boil in a large, covered stockpot.

2.  While the water heats, place both types of quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve or strainer and rinse thoroughly under cold running water.  
3.  When water begins to boil, remove the lid and add quinoa while stirring continuously.
4.  Replace the cover and boil the quinoa until it is cooked through but al dente (about 12-15 mins)
5.  Strain cooked quinoa through a fine-mesh sieve or colander. Then rinse it under cold running water to cool it and stop the cooking process.  Set aside.

For the Lime Citronette

1.  Place all ingredients for the citronette—except the olive oil—in a blender and purée on high speed until emulsified.

2.  Set blender to med-low and slowly drizzle in the olive oil to create a smooth, even mixture. Set aside and reserve.

Salad Assembly

1.  Wash, dry and chop roma tomato and flat leaf parsley, Place both in a large mixing bowl.
2.  Add the quinoa, dried fruit and nuts and mix throroughly.

3.  Add the Lime Citronette and toss. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary. 
Serve immediately.

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