I love you, quinoa. You never do me wrong. I dress you up, I dress you down. I have you for breakfast, I have you for dinner. When I’m in the mood to be naughty and blatantly ignore the concept of a “recommended serving size” (my own special form of rebellion), I can safely do so with you. Overdosing on protein, fiber, antioxidants and amino acids has never hurt anyone, as far as I know.
Oh, and if you’re a vegan or a vegetarian, I know you know that quinoa is a protein superstar. It contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a highly coveted non-animal product complete protein. Hot damn! Not to mention, it’s dirt cheap, particularly when you go crazy with those fun little scoopers in the bulk bins at Whole Foods, and leave with several pounds of it for just few dollars. Are you seeing a theme here? You can overdo it with quinoa without hurting your stomach or your wallet. Because isn’t overdoing it once in a while just fun? Don’t we all want to feel like we’re getting away with something? Choose quinoa as your accomplice in the art of strategic rebellion.
2 cup quinoa, thoroughly rinsed and drained
3 cups water
1 tsp fine-grain sea salt
3/4 cup dried cherries
2 pears, cut lengthwise into eights
2 1/2 cups baby arugula, packed
3/4 cup sliced almonds
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
3 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
zest of one orange
2 tablespoons orange juice
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoon pure maple syrup
A pinch of fine-grain sea salt, to taste
1teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1.) Kick things off by toasting the quinoa in a medium-sized pot with the heat on medium-low. Stirring frequently, toast quinoa for about 5 minutes, until slightly browned and pleasantly nutty-smelling. Add the water and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, until all water absorbed. Set aside.
2.) While the quinoa is cooking, make the dressing in a small bowl. Add all dressing ingredients except for the olive oil. Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Taste, and season with more salt and pepper if necessary.
3.) Toss quinoa, dressing and all of the salad ingredients together aside from half of the goat cheese. Sprinkle the remaining goat cheese and a few extra cherries and nuts over the salad before serving. Voila!