The most challenging thing about quinoa is learning how to pronounce it, “keen-wah.” After that, it’s smooth sailing. A super healthy Peruvian “grain,” quinoa is as delicious as it is healthy. While quinoa tastes and cooks as if it were a grain, it’s actually a seed and has a light, mild flavor and somewhat chewy and creamy texture. It does a wonderful job of absorbing the flavors in dressings or vinaigrettes. Think of it as a healthier version of couscous that you can serve hot, at room temperature or cold.
I used to visit a shop on Grant Avenue in North Beach that had lots of vintage ephemera. The postcard that said “California, land of fruits and nuts” always cracked me up. Fruits and nuts. You have no idea. California is such a magnet for weirdos, and I mean that in a good way. As an agricultural state, we also happen to have lots of actual fruits and nuts. We are the top agriculture state, and the nation’s sole producer (99 percent or more) of a large number of specialty crops, including almonds, artichokes, dates, figs, grapes, raisins, pistachios, clingstone peaches, dried plums, sweet rice, pomegranates and walnuts, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
I used the sunny California combination of almonds and tangerines in this salad, but you could use segments of navel orange, clementines or any other sweet citrus fruit. This salad is good at room temperature. It would make a perfect accompaniment to grilled fish or roast chicken, but it would also be a good potluck dish. You could go even more “California” and serve it piled high in an avocado half. It will keep for a day or so, but it best eaten soon after you make it.
Note:This recipe calls for the juice and zest of half a lemon. Zest the lemon while it’s still whole, then cut it in half and juice it.
Citrus Quinoa Salad with Toasted Almonds
1 tangerine, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks (remove as much of the membranes as you can)
1 cup white quinoa, rinsed well
1/2 lemon, preferably organic
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium scallions, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon flat leaf parsley, minced
1/4 teaspoon sriracha, or more to taste
2 Tablespoons thinly sliced toasted almonds
Rinse the quinoa thoroughly, then toast it in a dry pan over medium heat for a few minutes until it is fragrant.
In a medium saucepan, bring 1 3/4 cups water, the quinoa, and 1/2 tsp. salt to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is translucent and tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Spread out the quinoa on a baking sheet to cool to room temperature.??
Finely grate the zest from the lemon and then squeeze the juice into a mixing bowl. Add the olive oil, scallions, parsley and sriracha. Fold in the quinoa and tangerine pieces, season to taste with salt and top with almonds just before serving.
More fruity quinoa salads
Quinoa Salad with Pears, Baby Spinach & Chickpeas and Maple Vinaigrette from Gluten Free Goddess
Quinoa Salad with Grapes from the Kitchn
Pineapple Quinoa Salad with With Sweet Curry Vinaigrette from Poor Girl Eats Well
Quinoa Salad with Mango & Herb Marinated Shrimp from Well Fed