Once called "the gold of the Incas" and believed to increase the stamina of their warriors, quinoa (keen-wah) is an ancient "grain" fairly new to the U.S. market. Quinoa is ideal for vegetarians and omnivores alike because it's a complete protein--it contains all 9 essential amino acids.
It's also a good source of fiber, magnesium (reduces heart disease risk and helps ward off migraines), manganese (good for bone health), and iron. Quinoa is gluten free, so if you're following a gluten-free diet, this is the food for you!
1 cup quinoa (cooked with all-natural vegetable broth as suggested on package *)
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper (cut into 1/4-inch dice)
1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds
1/3 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped (7 to 8 apricots)
2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions, optional
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
Freshly ground black pepper
*The amount of broth needed will depend on your quinoa product. Read package directions for the suggested amount of liquid (it may range from 1 1/4 cups to the more likely 2 cups liquid per 1 cup quinoa). The cooking time may also vary depending on the brand you select. As a rule of thumb, the suggested time will range from 10 to 15 minutes with an instruction to let stand 5 to 10 minutes until the quinoa fully absorbs all the liquid. When fully cooked, the quinoa will "sprout."
1. Place quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse very well several times in cold water. Drain well and set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a boil. Stir in quinoa, cover, and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, for the time suggested on the package. Turn off the heat and let quinoa remain in the covered saucepan until all the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy, 5 to 10 minutes.
3. Transfer quinoa to a salad bowl and fluff slightly with a fork every few minutes until the grains cool.
4. Gently stir in the bell pepper, almonds, apricots, scallions as desired, salt, cumin, and coriander until well combined. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil and honey. Stir into the quinoa mixture until the grains are well coated. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.