This week’s Sunday Supper theme threw me for a loop: Free for All. We were to share recipes “free” of a common dietary restriction. Could I make something without butter or sugar or flour? Those are my staples. The challenge was on. A quinoa salad came to mind…how about Quinoa with Olives, Basil and Sun-dried Tomatoes?
I took a favorite picnic salad, Orzo with Everything, which I’ve made for years, and tweaked it to make it gluten-free. I’d eaten a delightful quinoa salad at a recent luncheon and turned to this super-grain of the Andes as a substitution for the orzo. I found a certified gluten-free organic pearl quinoa at Whole Foods…note that quinoa is naturally gluten free, but is often cross contaminated during processing…so check your label carefully. Adding flavorful ingredients such as kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan and basil along with a simple dressing of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, gave a powerful flavor punch to this exotic grain. I used 2 cups of quinoa in my salad, but I’d actually like a higher ratio of the add-ins to quinoa, so next time I’d decrease this amount to 1 1/2 cups. It’s certainly a versatile recipe…I plan to add bocconcini (mini fresh mozzarella balls) to my next batch. But no matter….it was sublime just the way I made it. Be sure to give quinoa…and this amazing recipe…a shot.
- 1-1½ cups quinoa (use a certified gluten-free brand)
- 3 cups chicken stock, optional, to cook quinoa
- ⅓ cup (packed) chopped drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup chopped Kalamata olives
- ½ cup pine nuts, toasted
- ½ cup chopped fresh basil
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced