Thursday, July 26, 2012

Curried Quinoa Salad

What better way to celebrate summer than by using fresh fruit in a salad?  We made this Curried Quinoa Salad with nectarines and snap peas the other night when a friend came over for dinner, served alongside Simon's Spicy Corn Pakoras.

There are so many delicious components in this salad.

Curried Quinoa Salad
  • 8 ounces frozen sugar snap peas or snow peas, thawed
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder, divided
  • 2.5 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2.5 tablespoons store-bought mango chutney
  • 2.5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 nectarines or peaches, each cut into 10 wedges
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves

First, prepare the quinoa.  Bring a medium pot of water to boil over medium-high heat.  Stir the quinoa and 1 tablespoon curry powder into the boiling water and cook for about 14 minutes, or until the quinoa is tender, stirring occasionally. 

While the quinoa cooks, whisk together the remaining 1 tablespoon curry powder, vinegar, chutney (try to avoid the chunks in the chutney, using the saucy part only), and oil in a small bowl.  Set aside.  Then toss the peas, nectarines, onion, and spinach in a separate large bowl and set aside. 

Once the quinoa is done cooking, drain it, rinse it under cold water until cool, and drain again.  Add the quinoa and dressing to the salad bowl and toss until everything is well coated. 

Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and enjoy.  Serves 4. 

I would gladly eat this unique salad on a regular basis.  The sweet and slightly spicy dressing is a great bridge between the quinoa and the rest of the ingredients.  The inclusion of nectarines really brightens up the dish, and the subtle mango flavor is like icing on the cake. 
We couldn't find fresh snap peas in our grocery store, so we used (thawed) frozen snap peas instead.  It worked quite well: just pop the bag of peas in the fridge when you get home from the store so they can thaw without cooking.  We've had trouble finding quinoa at non-specialty grocery stores in the past, though for the first time this week we actually found it at Giant!
 Ease of Preparation:        
While this dish certainly takes longer to prepare than other salads, it's still quite simple to make.  Prepare, toss, eat!
Non-vegan friendliness:       
As far as salads go, this dish is substantial, interesting, and visually pleasing.  We served this as side dish rather than as a one-pot meal. 

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