Toasted Quinoa Salad
Recipes are filed in my mind according to genres reminiscent of Netflix’s recommendation lists (“Visually Striking Foreign Revenge Films” is my personal Netflix favorite). Two of the recipe genres I have been turning to most in recent weeks could be called “Cozy Summer Foods for Midwestern Thunderstorm Weather,” and the ever-popular “Cooling Summer Dinners When It’s Too Damn Hot & Muggy To Feel Like Eating.” This recipe falls into the latter category, and was inspired by a suggestion from my mom, who has been mixing lunchtime salads based on hard boiled eggs. This salad is sort of a combination of egg salad and tabouleh, but I’ve substituted protein-rich quinoa for the bulgur. Toasting the quinoa changes its flavor dramatically, bringing out a deep, nutty complexity. Soak the quinoa for 10 minutes in warm water, and then rinse it well before toasting; this will remove the bitter coating of saponin that acts as the plant’s natural defense against birds and insects.
Toasted Quinoa Salad with Egg, Herbs & Avocado
1 cup quinoa, soaked, rinsed, and drained
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
5-6 scallions, white and green portions sliced
several handfuls fresh basil & mint, chopped
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
juice of 1 lemon
3-4 Tbsp olive oil
freshly cracked black pepper
Put the drained quinoa into a dry saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the water steams off and the quinoa begins to smell like popcorn as it toasts, about 10 minutes. Add water and salt, bring to a boil, and cover tightly. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let sit, still covered, another 5 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork and set in a bowl in the refrigerator to cool. Prepare the tomatoes, scallions, herbs, eggs, and avocado, and stir them into the cooled quinoa. Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, and black pepper. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss gently.