Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Basil Quinoa Salad & Pork Chop!

I confess. I have a new love in my life. He's sweet as can be, loves to cuddle, and is very much overweight. Foodie friends, meet Pork Chop! Also known as Gordon, Gordy, Gordo, Tubbers, Chub Chub...he is a cat of many names and faces (chubby ones).

Through a roundabout way, Pork Chop was welcomed into our home recently and is a wonderful addition to the urban homestead. He is an indoor kitty due to being declawed (not my doing, and yes, I agree it is pretty indecent to cut a cat's claws out) and has yet to discovered the chickens. However, he has made friends with our outdoor neighborhood kitty, Sophie, and seems to be settling in just fine.

His favorite hobbies: sleeping, eating, sleeping more, waddling around the house, sleeping in front of the window, waking me up at 6 am. We should get along fabulously! And I haven't told him yet, but he is going to lose some weight if I have my say...he is nearly 20 lbs at the moment.

For the holiday weekend a few weeks ago, friends and neighbors came by to play some lawn sports and have a few beers. In an effort to keep us more or less sober and healthy, I searched high and low for a quinoa salad I hadn't yet tried - something quite difficult as I eat a lot of quinoa!

Randomly, I stumbled across this Care2 recipe and thought it sounded scrumptious for a hot summer day (it never gets THAT hot here in Eugene). After sitting overnight in my fridge, this salad was delicious! It's vegan, can be made with some local ingredients, is fast and easy. All wins in my book!

BBQ goers gave some pretty good feedback on this recipe and I plan to make more of it soon. It has lots of room for personal taste changes, adaptations, etc. and deserves a place at the picnic table. Enjoy and happy summer! If you live in the area, Pork Chop always likes meeting new people. ;)

Basil Quinoa Salad
Adapted from: Summer Basil Quinoa Salad 

  • 1 cup Quinoa-rinsed
  • 1/8 c sweet Texas onion, diced
  • 1/8 c red onion, diced 
  • 2 whole tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice 
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil 
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard - I used a 4 mustard combo from my bridge
  • 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add the quinoa, cover and simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes or until water is fully absorbed. Set aside and let cool.
Whisk together all dressing ingredients except the olive oil. When combined, slowly whisk in olive oil, a little at a time to allow oil and vinegar to mix.
Toss all salad ingredients with dressing and garnish with nuts if available (toasted pine nuts, almonds, or hazelnuts are wonderful). 

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