Saturday, January 28, 2012

Quinoa Salad with Lemony Tahini Dressing

If you are not familiar with quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) then it is time to get acquainted. Here's the scoop. It's an ancient grain/seed originally grown in South and Central America and is high in protein, calcium and iron. It also contains vitamin E and some B vitamins as well as some other good stuff that I am not going to get into because I am not a nutritionist and don't know what they do (yet). When cooked, quinoa becomes fluffy and has a nutty flavour, so it works with many different vegetable combinations.

 Kale another essential part of this recipe, has powerful anti-oxidant properties and is high in beta carotine, vitamin K and C, calcium and other things I can't pronounce. With the leftover kale from the salad, you can bake it with flavourful spices like cumin, coriander, whole fennel seed, garlic, sweet spanish paprika, sea salt and black pepper.

The combination of red beets, golden beets, carrot, kale and quinoa create a very colourful, super nutritious and in combination with the tahini dressing makes it super tasty. -B

What you will need:
* A cup of cinnamon chai tea (David's Tea makes a delicious caffeine free one) to revitalize, wake you up and help you focus.
*You might want to listen to Demon Fuzz- Afreaka. Just saying.

For the salad:
1 cup Quinoa (I like to soak the quinoa for about 20-25 mins to reduce the earthy taste)
2 cups water
Bunch of Kale
1 Large carrot
2 Red beets
1 Small golden beet
1 medium-large size carrot

Soak Quinoa for about 20-25 mins. While quinoa is soaking, peel then shred carrot and golden beet. Take two kale leaves, wash and chop into bite size pieces (you can use the stems if you like).
Peel and chop red beet into small bite sized pieces. Set veggies aside. When quinoa is done soaking, fill pot with 2 cups of water. Bring to boil. Add quinoa. Bring to boil again. Reduce heat to low and place on a tight fitting lid. Cook for approx. 20- 25 min (or until soft) stirring occasionally. When ready, let quinoa cool before adding veggies. Once cool, throw everything in. Give it a mix.  Serve with dressing on top.

For the dressing:
2.5  Tbls. Prepared Tahini (you can find this in most grocery stores or you can get it at Akrams in Kensington Market)
Juice from 1 medium sized lemon
Fresh parsley -a small handful
1-2 cloves garlic (adjust to taste)
Black pepper (to taste)
Sea salt (to taste)

*I use a Magic Bullet for this. If you don't have one a blender will work or you may just have to mix in a cup with a fork or whisk but it should be creamy.
Throw all the ingredients above in the Bullet and mix that shit up. Kay? Done. Adjust to taste if you like. I like it really lemony.

Baked Kale
While quinoa is cooking start preparing the kale.
Pre-heat oven to 350˚.
Wash the leftover kale from the salad and chop in to bite-size pieces. Throw the kale into a big bowl and drizzle on olive oil (just enough so that spices stick). Mix it up. Now this part is a guessing game. I just throw everything on, mix it up and BAM - Done! Sprinkle on the following spices; garlic powder, cumin, whole anise/fennel seed, coriander, sweet spanish paprika, sea salt and black pepper. Mix it up.
Spread kale on baking pan. (I don't grease or cover with anything). Bake for 10-15 min. Mix occasionally. You kinda want some really crispy pieces - almost burnt. It's a nice mix to have super crispy with just baked. When finish eat as a snack or serve as side dish. -B

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