what you need:
FOR THE QUINOA
• 1 ½ cups dry organic, pre-washed quinoa
• 1 ½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth
• 1 ½ cups water
Note: The preparation of these ingredients according to the instructions below will yield approximately 4 ½ cups of cooked quinoa.
FOR THE SALAD
• Cooked quinoa – Utilize the entirety of the 4 ½ cups of cooked quinoa, prepared using the ingredients denoted above and the following the procedure below.
• 1 ½ cups fresh asparagus slices (KewlTip: Slice approximately 25 medium-length spears of fresh asparagus, tough ends removed but pointy tips preserved, into roughly ½ to 1 inch slices.)
• ½ cup fresh kumquats, sliced into thin rings (KewlTip: Kumquats are an awesome citrus fruit! They have a sweet, sunny flavor that wakes up the quinoa with a punch of brightness! They look like mini, personal, shrunken-down oranges, and have a similar flavor that’s delicious. They may look deceiving, but they’re not bitter and it’s even perfectly okay to eat their skin—no removal necessary! After slicing the kumquats, carefully remove all seeds from the rings before adding to the quinoa salad.)
• ¼ cup pre-cooked, unsalted pumpkin seeds
• ¼ cup unsalted almonds, roughly chopped into chunks (KewlTip: If you’re not a fan of almonds or are allergic in any way [or you know a fellow Kewl Quinoa-eater who is!], feel free to omit these chopped almonds from the recipe! If you like, substitute them with ¼ cup of peanuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds, extra pumpkin seeds, or anything other ingredient you like! The key here is texture, and, just like the fun crunch from this ingredient, you’re sure to keep this dish interesting and on the crispy cutting edge with anything you love!)
• ¼ cup minced fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
• 3 tablespoons dried cranberries
• 3 tablespoons golden raisins
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• sea salt, to taste
• ground black pepper, to taste
• olive oil spray OR nonstick cooking spray
what to do:
1. Cook the quinoa: Place the dry quinoa in a medium saucepan, and pour over it both the vegetable broth or stock and water. Stir to combine. Set over high heat on the stovetop, bring to a boil, and then cover the pot tightly with its lid, reduce heat so as to simmer the quinoa, and cook for approximately 10-15 minutes, or until the quinoa has just absorbed all of the liquid and is tender. Fluff the quinoa by scraping it with a fork. Remove from heat and place the cooked quinoa in a large, heatproof mixing bowl. Set aside.
2. Sauté the asparagus slices while the quinoa is cooking (see Step 1 above): Coat a sauté pan with olive oil spray OR nonstick cooking spray and set over medium heat on the stovetop. When the pan is well-heated, add the asparagus slices, season lightly with salt and pepper, and stir. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but still vibrantly green in color and not mushy in texture. Remove from heat and place the cooked asparagus slices on a heatproof dish. Set aside.
3. When quinoa and asparagus have finished cooking, assemble the salad: Once the quinoa has finished cooking and been placed in the mixing bowl (see Step 1 above), add to it the cooked asparagus slices, kumquats, pumpkin seeds, almonds, parsley, dried cranberries, and golden raisins. Toss with a large spoon to evenly combine these ingredients throughout the quinoa. Then, drizzle in the olive oil and season with additional salt or pepper, to taste (if desired), tossing again to completely distribute.
4. Serve! Enjoy this light, refreshing, flavorful, and super-nutritious salad either chilled or warm.
Yields 6-8 servings. Leftovers are perfect for storing in the refrigerator!