Would you believe me if I told you this was my very first attempt at making quinoa? I know! Where have I been the last, I don't know, five years? What's even worse is that I have had a box of quinoa in my cupboard for months. Maybe I was just waiting for the right recipe to come along before I jumped in. And was this ever a good recipe to start off with! I'm in love with quinoa and I regret having waited so long to try it.
This seed that doubles as a grain is quick-cooking, delicious and high in protein. That qualifies as a super-food in my book. Maybe I thought quinoa would be a hassle to work with, having to rinse all those little guys and then cook them, but it took no time at all. I actually cooked these before I went to work one morning.
I love the taste and the texture of quinoa. It kind of pops in your mouth and it has a nutty, almost grassy flavor that is a great match for dried fruits and toasted nuts and seeds. I used pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, almonds, walnuts, golden raisins, currants, cranberries and apricots. All of which I just happened to have in my pantry because I'm a pack-rat with this sort of food. Mostly because I love to make my own granola. Now I'm going to be using them for this salad and taking it to work for lunch. I could eat this every day, that's how good it is.
The dressing for this salad is a blend of lemon juice, olive oil, walnut oil and a pinch of ground ginger. Lemon-ginger vinaigrette. That's a new one for me and it's genius. If I ever have any fresh ginger laying around, I'll be trying it with some grated into the dressing. But ground ginger was delicious. I loved the dollop of yogurt on top, too. It brings a fantastic tangy dimension to the dish that contrasts with the sweetness of the fruit. I never would have thought of putting yogurt on a salad like this, especially with greens, but somehow it works.
Be sure to check out the rest of the bloggers who made this salad over at French Fridays with Dorie. I'd also like to say a big thank you to Dorie for giving me the perfect quinoa starter recipe. Readers, you really should pick up Around My French Table and make this as soon as you can. This was the recipe for me that made it so worth the price of the book.