I can hear it now across the pond…’What is Quinoa anyway?’ That was you Mr. Eske, was it not?
Pronounced KEENWA, this is an ancient “grain” native to South America. It is high in protein and has light, fluffy texture when cooked. Its mild, slightly nutty flavour makes it an excellent alternative to rice or couscous. I actually started making this recipe with couscous so if you can’t find quinoa in your local health food store, substitute couscous and you’ll be good to go–delicious either way.
Not only is this dish packed with nutrients but it also makes a brilliant light summery side dish perfect for barbecues, picnics (Labor Day anyone?), lunches for the kids or even just as a snack in the fridge.
1 cup lentils (I used regular green lentils)
1 cup quinoa (I used red quinoa)
3 tbsp white-wine vinegar
2 tsp salt
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup fresh mint, finely chopped
2 tbsp lemon zest
S&P to taste
Begin by rinsing the lentils under cold water. In a small saucepan add enough water to cover the lentils by 2 inches, add 1 tsp salt and simmer until tender but not falling apart, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, place quinoa, 2 cups water and 1 tsp salt in another saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook until all water is absorbed, about 15 minutes, approx.
When lentils are done, drain well. Remove hot lentils to a large mixing bowl and stir in 1 tbsp of vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Cool lentils completely, stirring occasionally.
When quinoa is cooked, drain any excess liquid. Cool and add to lentils in mixing bowl.
In a small bowl whisk together remaining 2 tbsp vinegar, oil, S&P to taste. Combine lentils, quinoa and dressing. Add in mint and zest. Mix well. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
I also threw in a little fresh chopped lemon balm if I have some in the garden, which adds another dimension. I’ll definitely be making this for the weekend!
All recipes are made with the finest quality farmers market whole foods, natural and non-processed ingredients as much as possible.