I have a bad habit of going a little overboard when faced with bulk goods. Grains, rices, beans – I find myself taking bags and bags home, happily tucking it away in our little pantry closet and promptly forgetting about it altogether. Now that I’m aware of this little fault, I wisely label my finds, so that at least I’ll know what they are when I stumble across them months later. That’s never a problem with quinoa, which has a distinctive spirally shape to it, but nonetheless, I am always happy to stumble across a tempting recipe that reminds me to use the small grain respository that has accumulated.
This particular quinoa salad comes from a blog I recently stumbled across, What Geeks Eat…, where it was called “Orange Ginger Quinoa salad”. Funny, then, that what stood out to me as I sat down and started to type were the zucchini and dried cranberries. Either way, this simple little salad has lots going on- orange, craisins, ginger, zucchini, and pistachios, for starters. Even so, the overall effect is mellow and mild, perfect to accompany a piece of fish or chicken. And I was happy to find that it holds up well to a couple of days in the fridge- on a hot summer day, it makes a light, refreshing lunch on its own.
Zucchini cranberry quinoa pilaf (serves 4-6)
1 cup quinoa, well rinsed and drained
2 cups water
1 medium zucchini, julienned
6 scallions, sliced
A large handful of mint leaves, chiffonaded
3 handfuls of dried cranberries
2 handfuls of pistachios
2 oranges, zest and juice
generous dash of cardamom
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon lime juice
1. Bring the water to a boil, add the quinoa, reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, until the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and put into a large bowl and toss to cool.
2. Then add the mint, cranberries, pistachios, zucchini, and scallions to the cooled quinoa. Whisk together the orange juice, zest, cardamom, ginger juice, lime juice, olive oil to form the vinaigrette. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Toss the salad with the vinaigrette, chill and serve.