Back to the quinoa again. I made a huge batch the other night and decided I would test recipe after recipe until I found one I liked. I was shocked when I loved these quinoa cakes and then again when I found out that I also loved this salad. This is not much different from my standard winter salad, except that I also add a hefty handful or two of quinoa for some nutritious protein. It can even turn a side salad into a main dish!
But if you really, really, really want a great tasting salad, fry your quinoa. It probably ruins all the nutritious benefits of this grain, but really, who cares? It’s delicious! And it’s still healthy because you’re still eating salad! I was inspired by this when I was making the quinoa cakes and some of the quinoa fell off the patties and into the oil in the pan. It got super crispy and I thought, “Hmmm… I bet we’d love this as a salad topping!” If you add 1 cup of cooked quinoa to a splash of hot olive oil, the quinoa turns a toasty brown and makes the most amazing crunchy topping. My husband loved this part so much that he literally licked the pan clean. Try it. You’ll like it.
- OPTIONAL: If you're feeling adventurous and don't mind a few more calories, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pot until smoking. Add 1 cup of the quinoa and fry until golden brown. (Careful - they jump!) Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
- Layer the greens on a large serving platter or in individual bowls. Top with some un-fried quinoa. Add apples, pears, pomegranate and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with fried quinoa, if using. Drizzle with vinaigrette (recipe below).
- Combine the vinegar, sugar, mustard, garlic, and salt in a food processor. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil until well thickened. Remove from the food processor and add add freshly ground pepper to taste.