We are at the point in the wedding process where glorious wedding gifts are occasionally waiting for us by the garage when we get home from work. (Thank you friends and family!!!) One gift that’s had an immediate impact on our cooking habits is our amazing Zojirushi rice cooker. This countertop gadget cooks every type of grain imaginable and it’s incredibly easy to use. It’s also so satisfying to pop open the top at the end of the cook time and find perfectly cooked, fluffy, steaming hot rice. Yum!
In addition to cooking the perfect pot of rice, the Zojirushi can cook quinoa, a protein-packed ‘superfood’ that, according to wikipedia, is actually more closely related to beets and spinach than grains. Quinoa can easily be substituted in for grains in a well-rounded meal so, armed with our new rice cooker, Matt and I decided that we’d try our hand at a nice summery quinoa salad. I found a great looking recipe on Garnish with Lemon and, after a few small tweaks (because I never follow recipes exactly), we ended up with a delicious, healthy salad that we’ll continue to enjoy all week for lunch.
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad (adapted from Garnish With Lemon)
You will need…
1 1/2 cups raw Quinoa (or about 6 cups cooked Quinoa)
1/3-1/2 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Red Onion, finely chopped
1 Red Pepper, chopped
1 Cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 pint Cherry Tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup Kalamata Olives, halved
1/2 – 1 cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Pepper
Juice of 1/2 – 1 Lemon
Cook the quinoa on the stovetop according to the package instructions or, if you have a rice cooker, cook it in the rice cooker on the normal white rice setting with a 2:1 water to quinoa ratio. When cooking is complete, transfer the quinoa to a large bowl, cool for 5-10 minutes and stir in the vinegar and olive oil.
Allow the quinoa to cool completely to room temperature, then gently stir in the next 6 ingredients (onion thru feta). Season with salt and pepper (add more to taste if needed). If you have the patience, chill the salad for 2 hours (we ate it immediately and it was still good) and “garnish with lemon” just before serving.