Quinoa and Green Bean Summer Salad
June 30, 2010
Aunt Suzy says
This was the first weekend for local green beans and the ones from Untiedt’s are really good. I got the green beans along with the cherry tomatoes for this recipe from them at the downtown farmers market, but I am also lucky to have one of their neighborhood fruit and vegetable stands within walking distance. I always anticipate the first local green beans, specifically so I can make this recipe! It has many layers of flavor that surprise in every bite, even though the ingredient list is short. This can be served as a main dish salad (quinoa is high in protein) or as a side to roast or grilled chicken. A dry, fruity French rose wine is the perfect pairing.
A note about the ingredients: The original recipe called for bulgur instead of quinoa. I have made and like both, but prefer the quinoa for its milder flavor and texture. I have almost completely switched from using golden quinoa to red quinoa. I’m not sure if there is a flavor difference, but I like how it looks! I have also made this recipe with asparagus and it was just as good as with the green beans. For a prettier salad, you can use multi-colored cherry and grape tomatoes. For the roasted almonds make sure that you get roasted and salted (unless you have to limit your salt intake). Trader Joe’s has a product called Tangy and Spicy Dry Roasted Almonds, which have cayenne pepper and lemon added. If you want to add a little zip to the dish, use these! (July 2013 update: TJ no longer carries those almonds – sigh.)
1 cup red or golden quinoa, rinsed well
1 1/2 cups water
1 pound thin green beans, trimmed and snapped in half
1/3 cup EV olive oil
juice of 1/2 to one lemon, depending on how juicy
salt and pepper to taste
1 pint cherry tomatoes (2 cups), sliced in half
1/2 cup roasted salted almonds, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, coarsely shredded
Place the rinsed quinoa in a saucepan and add the water. Make sure you rinse or else the quinoa will be bitter when cooked. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes, then fluff and turn into a large bowl to cool.
Wash the green beans. Place in a steamer, bring the water to a boil and steam for 5 minutes or until just done. Alternatively, you can cook the beans directly in boiling water for 5 minutes until just done. Either way, when done, plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and then pat dry in a towel. When both the beans and the quinoa are mostly cool, combine in the large bowl.
Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper together. Pour over the quinoa/green bean mixture. You can make this up to a day ahead. Prior to serving add the tomatoes, mint and almonds. Toss to combine thoroughly. Use some small mint leaves for garnish. Serve at room temperature.