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Quinoa Salad with Cherries, Almonds, Celery, and Pecorino:
SERVES 6 · VEGETARIAN, GF, VEGAN ADAPTABLE, DF ADAPTABLE
I'm on a mission to get everyone eating quinoa. It has a delightful bouncy and springy texture and the flavor is nutty and quite pleasant. Plus it is one of the only nonanimal foods that contains all eight essential amino acids, so it's perfect if you're looking to cut back on meat (hint, hint). Quinoa also never weighs me down like meat does, but instead makes me feel energized and light. If you've tried quinoa and haven't fallen in love yet, will you please give it another chance and make this salad? If cherries aren't in season, you can substitute strawberries, diced nectarines, or quartered figs. Another option is to make this salad reversed as an arugula salad with only a handful of quinoa tossed in.
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
4 cups lightly packed arugula leaves
2 cups cherries, pitted and quartered (use a cherry pitter to make this job easier)
2 celery stalks, diced
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves and tender stems, chopped
1/3 cup raw almonds, toasted, chopped
Pecorino, shaved with a vegetable peeler (about 1/2 cup shaved pieces) (omit for DF)
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 teaspoons minced shallot
2 teaspoons pure Grade A maple syrup or raw honey (not vegan)
3 tablespoons unrefined, coldpressed, extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Place the quinoa and 13/4 cups of water in a medium-size saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed. Allow to sit, covered, off the heat for at least 10 minutes, but longer if possible. Transfer to a serving bowl and fluff with a fork. Set aside to cool.
2. Add the arugula, cherries, celery, parsley, almonds, and pecorino, if using, to the quinoa.
3. Prepare the dressing: Combine all the dressing ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake until emulsified or whisk in a bowl.
4. Pour enough dressing over the salad to coat everything lightly. Add more as needed.
TIPS: Toast the almonds in a skillet with a smidge of olive oil and a pinch of salt. For a nut-free option, use toasted sunflower seeds. I prefer using raw almonds for their high enzyme content. But almonds grown in the United States can actually be labeled"raw" even if they've been steamed or pasteurized, which is not technically raw. The word "raw" should really be replaced with "not roasted." To buy truly raw almonds, seek out a source that sells imported raw almonds or buy directly from your local grower. Check the Resources section for my recommendations (page 263).
Excerpted from Kitchen Matters: More than 100 Recipes and Tips to Transform the Way You Cook and Eat—Wholesome, Nourishing, Unforgettable by Pamela Salzman. Copyright © 2017. Available from Da Capo Lifelong Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc.