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Minted Strawberry Quinoa Salad in an Amaretto Dressing

Posted May 30 2012 7:25am

Have you ever noticed how life's little mysteries get sorted and solved during long car rides?
I just returned from a brief road trip with our eldest son.  A weekend soccer tournament in beautiful Vermont that saw us spending 12 hours in the car together. 
The weekend itself could not have gone better.  From the generous hospitality of the people in Rutland Vermont to the glorious sun shining over the mountains and fields, we were treated to one of the smoothest and most enjoyable tournaments we've ever attended.
My son's team happened to win this year's tournament, but that wasn't the most memorable part of the trip for me.  No, the most memorable part of the trip for this mom, was the collection of weird and wonderful questions that came up during our car ride that amused and delighted me to the core.
Here is just a sample of the conversation starters:
- Mom, do you think humans have always been able to laugh?  I'm just wondering because no other living species is able to.  What makes people laugh anyway?
- Mom, what's the difference between a freckle and a birthmark?  Why do some people have lots of birthmarks and other people hardly have any? 
- Mom, do you think the smell of skunk seeps into the car through the closed windows or the air vents or a combination of both? (I couldn't help but laugh out loud at this one.  Not because it wasn't a valid question worthy of exploration but because I can sincerely say that I have never, at any point in my life, contemplated how the smell of skunk gets into a car.  I love boys!!).

Minted Strawberry Quinoa Salad in an Amaretto Dressing
For the Salad
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 5 large mint leaves, finely chopped + a few leaves for garnish
  • 6-8 large strawberries, fiely chopped + a few strawberries for garnish
  • 1/4 cup natural almonds, sliced + a few almonds for garnish

For the Amaretto Dressing
  • 4 heaping Tbsp plain yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp amaretto liqueur (I used Disaronno), substitute 2 tsp pure almond extract for a non-alcoholic version
  • 1 tsp honey

  This is a unique and beautiful salad that is simple yet elegant and full of complex flavours.  It would make a perfect starter for guests on a summer's evening.
The almond notes in the amaretto are a gorgeous complement to the sweetness of the strawberry, each intensifying the other's flavour. The mint brings the freshness of summer supported by the texture of the sliced almond.
I've had this salad in my head for weeks and am so happy to finally deliver it on the page.
I hope you enjoy it.
Prepare quinoa according to package directions (generally 1:2 ratio of quinoa to water).
Once quinoa has cooled (you can cool it in the fridge if you like), add in the sliced strawberry, mint and sliced almond. 
Meanwhile, place amaretto dressing ingredients together in a small bowl, whisking to combine.  If you find the dressing too thick (depending on what yogurt you use), simply add a little milk or olive oil. 
Drizzle amaretto dressing over the salad and gently combine with the ingredients, taking care not to mash the fruit.
Plate the salad onto four individual dishes and top with mint, strawberry and sliced almond as desired.

Our weekend setting  

soccer pitch below...


bon appétit ~
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