quinoa3

Quinoa is a nutritious seed that comes from the Andes region of South America. While it cooks like a grain, it is actually more nutritious than most grains because it is high in protein, iron, and calcium. Quinoa is also gluten-free.

For many years, the only quinoa I saw in stores was the traditional white quinoa. Recently, however, I am seeing red and black quinoa, as well. I made this salad with black quinoa, but you can use any variety that you like.

Quinoa seeds are naturally coated with a bitter substance that needs to be removed before cooking. You can easily accomplish this by putting your quinoa into a fine mesh strainer and rinsing thoroughly with warm water before cooking.

For this quinoa salad, you cook the quinoa just as you would cook brown rice- 1 cup quinoa to two cups water. Bring to a boil in a small pot on the stove, cover, reduce heat to simmer, and let cook until water is absorbed. Quinoa cooks fast, so this only takes about 15 minutes. When it is done cooking, turn the heat off but leave it covered for another 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork.

black quinoa salad

You don’t have to use grilled vegetables in this salad. If you like the idea of the zucchini and the eggplant but don’t feel like firing up the grill, you could roast them instead. Or you could use chopped tomatoes, cucumber, peppers…lots of combinations would work here, and they’d all be delicious.

Black Quinoa Salad with Grilled Vegetables, Basil, Feta and Pine Nuts

Yield: serves 6-8 as a side dish

Use organic vegetables whenever possible.

Ingredients:

For the salad:

*1 large zucchini
*1 large eggplant
*1 cup raw quinoa, cooked to equal approximately 4 cups cooked quinoa, and then cooled
*1 1/2 cups chopped fresh basil
*approximately 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (I like French feta made with sheep's milk)
*1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted for a minute or so in a hot skillet

Dressing Ingredients:

*1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
*2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
*1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
*1 teaspoon garlic, peeled and minced
*1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
*1/2 teaspoon organic sugar or honey

Directions:

Preparation:
1. Preheat your grill. Sliced the eggplant and zucchini and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in grill basket over high heat and grill until tender. Remove and allow to cool before chopping into bite-sized pieces.

2. Combine the chopped grilled vegetables with the cooked quinoa and the basil in a large bowl. Add most of the crumbled feta cheese. Mix well.

3. Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl and then pour over the salad. Mix well and adjust seasonings, if necessary.

4. Garnish with the toasted pine nuts and the rest of the feta. You can sprinkle a little more basil on top too, if desired.

black quinoa salad

A Few More Lovely Quinoa Salads:
Black Quinoa Salad from La Tartine Gourmande
Kalyn’s Quinoa Salad with Avocado
Corn and Black Bean Quinoa Salad from Closet Cooking

This post is linked to this week’s edition of Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, hosted by Amy at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.

 

15 Comments

  1. 1

    Kalynskitchen — May 10, 2010 @ 5:53 pm

    Love this salad, and the photos are fantastic. I need to look for black quinoa.

  2. 2

    5 Star Foodie — May 10, 2010 @ 7:46 pm

    I’ve never seen a black quinoa, will look for it for sure. Sounds fantastic with grilled veggies and feta!

  3. 3

    kerry — May 11, 2010 @ 4:34 am

    this makes me want to cook (and eat)!!!

  4. 4

    saramariesue — May 11, 2010 @ 8:12 am

    Great recipe! I can’t wait to try this one. And I don’t have a grill…do you think I could pop the eggplant and the zucchini in the oven or maybe stove top? I am very unfamiliar with cooking eggplant…

  5. 5

    drwinnie — May 11, 2010 @ 8:36 am

    Saramariesue- you can definitely cook the zucchini and eggplant in the oven- roasting them will work just fine. You could saute them too…
    You may want to salt the eggplant slices and allow to drain in a colander for 20 minutes or so before cooking as this helps remove any bitterness. I don’t usually do this when I am grilling eggplant but I would for the other methods…

  6. 6

    Laurie — May 11, 2010 @ 9:25 am

    What a beautiful salad. I have been experimenting with different grains
    and I really enjoy quinoa. I haven’t yet used black.. this will be on my list.
    I look forward to exploring your site.. it has great content!
    Thank you for visiting me too. :) Ciao..lmvengo

  7. 7

    Dawn Hutchins — May 11, 2010 @ 10:46 am

    Black quinoa! I have never seen that. I will keep my eye out. I can’t seem to get enough of the stuff lately. In fact I’m eating it now (but it’s red).

  8. 8

    saramariesue — May 11, 2010 @ 1:46 pm

    Thanks for the tip! I need to have the boyfriend invest in a grill. :)

  9. 9

    Malin — May 11, 2010 @ 2:23 pm

    Never knew there existed black quinoa! Looks so delicious, though! Combines all my favourites! (Well, don’t know about the black quinoa yet, but I bet it’s good!)

  10. 10

    cindy — May 11, 2010 @ 10:17 pm

    This looks delicious. I love eggplant, zucchini and feta. Yummy! The only thing I might add is some kalamata olives.

  11. 11

    Sara — May 12, 2010 @ 1:22 pm

    ugh drop dead gorgeous. I have never cooked black quinoa… red and brown, but never this stunning hue. It looks like all my favorite things in a bowl, great recipe!

  12. 12

    Veggie Belly — May 12, 2010 @ 2:39 pm

    Never had black quinoa. I’ll defenitely try this!

  13. 13

    Monet — May 13, 2010 @ 9:47 am

    I haven’t tried black quinoa either, but I must say, I don’t think I’ve seen a more visually stunning grain salad. This is beautiful! I can’t wait to give it a try. I’m heading over to my local natural foods store, and I hope they have some of this quinoa. Thank you so much for sharing, and once again, your pictures are beautiful!

  14. 14

    The Non-Grain Quinoa in a Quinoa Salad with Mint, Apple and Honey-Cumin Dressing « The Dabble — November 20, 2010 @ 6:21 pm

    [...] Black Quinoa with Grilled Vegetables, Basil and Feta from Healthy Green Kitchen [...]

  15. 15

    Denise — June 29, 2013 @ 7:05 pm

    Made this tonight with reg quinoa. Added grilled chicken breast to make it the main course. It was excellent. Thanks for the great idea!

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