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Quicky Quinoa salad

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is an ancient grain that originated in the Andes where it has been cultivated for at least 6,000 years.  Unlike wheat or rice, quinoa contains all the essential amino acids, making it a complete protein.  One cup of cooked quinoa contains 58% of your Daily Value of Manganese, 30%DV of Magnesium and 28% of Phosphorus and more than 10%DV of Thiamin, Riboflavin, Folate, B6, Iron, Zinc and Copper.  One cup contains 5 grams of fiber, 8 grams of protein and no saturated fat.  Quinoa contains a coating called saponin which tastes rather bitter; it can be easily removed by placing the grains in a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth and rinsing under cold running water.  Most quinoa sold in the US already has the saponin coating removed.

Quinoa has been available at health food stores and Whole Foods for a long time, but now Costco has started carrying it.  It's an excellent (and healthier!) alternative to rice and cooks very similarly.  If you have a rice cooker, you can make quinoa in it.    When cooked, it has an unusual little curl to it.

I made way too much quinoa the other day so I put the leftovers in the fridge.  Tonight I decided to try making a salad with some of the leftovers.

2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
2 cups frozen mixed carrots, corn and green beans, cooked and cooled
1/2 cup broccoli, steamed and cooled
1 can diced tomatoes, drained or 2 fresh tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup cashews, coarsely chopped
couple handfuls of toasted sesame seeds

Dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tblsp lemon juice
large pinch salt
fresh ground pepper
dash of cayenne pepper
dash of grated ginger

Mix the quinoa, veggies and nuts together in a large bowl.  In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.  Combine dressing with salad and toss.

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