I like the versatility of quinoa. This nutty grain has nourished natives of the Andes mountains for over 6,000 years, but has only recently become widely known in popular health cuisine. It is excellent as a breakfast porridge, blended with shredded coconut, nut butter, dried fruit, sweet spices and yogurt.
Here we have a sweet and savory version, speckled with tart dried cherries, toasted almonds, clementine slices and tossed with a tangy navel orange vinaigrette. I highly recommend adding a healthy dose of creamy goat cheese to finish it off. Pairs well with pastured pork, grass-fed steak, goose or turkey. Bon appétit!
Cherry Almond Quinoa: (serves 6)
*1 cup quinoa, rinsed thoroughly
*2 cups chicken stock or water
*1 cup unsweetened dried cherries
*1 celery stalk, sliced diagonally very thin
*2/3 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
*1-2 clementines, peeled, seeds removed, segmented
*goat cheese (optional)
Navel Orange Vinaigrette:
*juice from one navel orange
*1/8 cup white vinegar
*1/4 cup mild extra virgin olive oil
*1 garlic clove
*1 teaspoon honey
*pinch sea salt
In a medium saucepan, bring quinoa and stock/water to a simmer. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook until all liquid is absorbed (about 15-20 minutes).
Remove from heat. Fluff quinoa with a fork. Set aside.
Meanwhile blend all ingredients for vinaigrette together in a blender. Vinaigrette will be slightly thin. Set aside.
Transfer quinoa to a medium mixing bowl. Add dried cherries (cherries should be added while quinoa is still warm to help soften), celery, and toasted almonds. Mix. Begin pouring in the vinaigrette, gently mixing to incorporate.
Finally, add the clementine segments and goat cheese (optional) and gently toss. Season with additional sea salt and pepper if desired.
Serve warm or cold.