Sunday, March 18, 2012

Quinoa Salad, Gluten Free

More and more I hear about gluten intolerance and celiac disease. Fortunately for those intolerant of gluten more and more gluten free products appear in the food stores, more often I’ve seen “gluten-free” on restaurant menus and more and more food blogs are devoted to gluten free cooking. Here are two that I like and that most optimistically show that there is pleasure in eating for those who can’t eat wheat, rye or barley:
Dry quinoa on the left, cooked on the right
My sister acquainted me with quinoa last year. I’d seen it on the shelves of a top end supermarket, but never cooked it myself. There are different kinds of quinoa, white, red or black are what I’ve seen and recently a new tricolour product appeared in the supermarket. Quinoa is sold in the Swiss supermarkets as a bio product, in Estonia one can also find it in organic or bio food shops but is seems to be more expensive there.

Quinoa is not really a grain, but seeds of a leafy green plant. It originates in South America where people have grown it for a few thousands of years. No wonder because it has high nutrition value. It can be used in salads or eaten warm as a side or it may be an ingredient in a main dish. I do wonder how the Incas ate it…

For a healthy lunch here is a very easy quinoa salad for two.

150g of quinoa
0.5 l water
Half a cucumber cut into small cubes
Half a red paprika/bell pepper cut into small cubes
5-10 sundried tomatoes cut into thin stripes
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or rape seed oil
Juice of a quarter of a lemon
A pinch of sugar or honey
Salt and pepper

Bring the water to boil and cook the quinoa until the little tails emerge and the grains are soft for about 15 minutes (check instructions on the pack too). In the meanwhile cut the vegetables and prepare the sauce by mixing the ingredients.

When the quinoa is soft, rinse with cold water and leave to cool. Mix the vegetables and the quinoa and the sauce. Garnish with chopped parsley or chives. The salad is ready to serve. 
Quinoa salad

Variation: add some smoked trout for a more substantial meal or mix any other ingredients you have at hand (sliced black olives, capers, scallions, roasted pumpkin, etc, etc).