Quinoa (pronounced kiːnwɑ) and I have been having a bit of an issue. I think we might just not be suited for one another. For starters, for the life of me, I cannot pronounce the stupid word right. Despite knowing the correct pronunciation, I can not help but use three syllables, not two, making me very unpopular among those in the know about this superfood. I also seem incapable of making a quinoa salad that my family will actually eat. My husband frowns at the mention of it. Even my 20 month son who will eat anything (e.g., pickles, olives, ice cream, beans, 3 day old cherrios on the floor) takes a spoonful and promptly spits it out in a dramatic fashion, pushing the last bit forward with a slow movement of his tongue as it dribbles down his chin.
But finally I think quinoa and I may have actually started to get along or at least maintain civility. Granted, in my more than year long nearly failed love affair with quinoa, I have made some discoveries about this grain. You need to actually combine it with something that has some texture or at least a different texture than quinoa. These accompaniments also need to be some of your favorite foods on this planet and take up almost as much space as the quinoa itself. Otherwise, in my humble opinion, your quinoa salad is doomed (“Oh, not quinoa again! I hate quinoa.”).
With these guidelines in mind, I roasted local yellow and green squash along with some shallots for about 35 minutes in the oven, added roasted pine nuts, fresh basil and goat cheese with a dressing of lemon juice, olive oil and a splash of sherry vinegar and salt and pepper. I threw all of these ingredients into a dish while the quinoa and the veggies were still hot and let it chill out in the refrigerator for a few hours, allowing the flavor combinations to jive. And while I may not have completely sold the kids (only one), I, at least, cleaned my plate. My husband, on his second helping asked: “This is quinoa?” From my husband’s perspective, I had succeeded by making it a filler for the rest of the numminess that he devoured.
Kiːnwɑ (Quinoa) with Summer Squash
1 cup Quinoa
4 Assorted yellow and green squash (medium) (cut in about 1 inch long by 1/3 inch pieces)
2 shallots – coarsely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts (2 tsp – 1 tbsp olive oil)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles
Lemon juice (juice of one fresh squeezed lemon)
3 tbsp Olive oil
2 tsp sherry vinegar
Salt and Pepper
Cook Quinoa according to package directions (usually you boil water and let it cook at a rolling boil for about 12-15 minutes and then sit for an extra five. Combine chopped squash and shallots with olive oil and generously salt and pepper (grind sea salt and fresh pepper). Roast in oven for 35 minutes until nicely charred. Toast pine nuts in a small sauce pan until they begin to brown. Add both pine nuts and vegetables to Quinoa. Combine ingredients for dressing. Add chopped basil goat cheese and dressing. While still warm, put into a plastic container and let sit in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. Remove from refrigerator approximately 1 hour before serving so that it can be served at room temperature.
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