Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Quinoa: Magic? Or Cousin of the Tumbleweed?

Both actually. Quinoa is a wonderful grain-like thing I discovered a few years ago and I have never looked back. I call it a grain-like thing because that's exactly what it is. It's not quite a grain or a seed. And it's related to the tumbleweed. Make of that what you will.

Anyway, it turns out our friend quinoa is a superfood. It is a good source of fiber and phosphorous and it is high in iron and magnesium. It is a complete protein and has a very unique set of amino acids. It has a ton of folate (holla at my preggos!) and is gluten-free. It's pretty tasteless so you can put it in anything. It makes a fantastic gluten-free substitute to couscous. I mean, what more could you want out of a grain-like thingie?

So a few words about this salad: Brandon and I are partial to rib-eye steak but it's pretty marbled, so if you don't want to fight with the fat as you're cutting it, just get a sirloin. Or make it vegetarian by omitting the steak entirely.

Also, I do all of the seasoning on this salad at the very end when everything is on my plate and I'm about to eat it. I add olive oil, red wine vinegar and salt and pepper much like I would to a green salad. I put those ingredients on this recipe but please feel free to add your own fixins'. Different types of vinegar, steak sauces, you name it. And let me know how it goes!

Cold Steak and Quinoa Salad

Serves 4

1 cups quinoa

1 ½ cups of water

Steak - about 10 oz.

Canola Oil

1 red pepper, sliced

2 red onions, sliced

2 cups halved Cherry tomatoes

2 tblsp parsley, finely chopped

Feta cheese to taste, I like alot

Olive oil for drizzling

Red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper

  1. Cook quinoa by placing it in a 3 quart(ish) pot and adding the water. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer until water evaporates and quinoa is cooked through – about 10 minutes. Quinoa should be transparent when fully cooked, unless you bought red quinoa....then it'll be maroonish. When cooked, place quinoa in a large bowl.

  2. Meanwhile, cook steak on a non-stick pan over medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Do not tent in foil, this overcooks your steak, just put steak on a plate and walk away. Once steak has cooled and rested for about 20 minutes, slice thinly perpendicular to the grain of the steak and set aside or refrigerate if you so choose.
  3. In a medium pan heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot it should move around the pan easily, like water. Once the oil is hot, place the red pepper and cook, stirringly often, until soft, but not falling apart - about 4 minutes.

  4. Once the red pepper is done remove from heat and place in the bowl with the quinoa. Return pan to heat and repeat process with the onions, adding more oil if necessary. Then add the onions to bowl containing the quinoa and the peppers.

  5. Add cherry tomatoes, feta cheese and parsley to quinoa bowl and mix gently. Spoon quinoa salad onto a plate and top with a few pieces of steak, and then drizzle with olive oil and bit of red wine vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve this cold, or at least at room temperature. The steak and the salad keep really well so please eat the leftovers. Or I will.

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