quinoa salad by The Culinary ChaseAncient grains…two words that conjure up something you might find in an archeological dig!  They’ve been around for a millennium and include quinoa, amaranth, spelt, and kamut.  Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is a grain that comes from the Andes mountains of South America and its origins dates back to that of the Inca’s.  There are more than 2,000 varieties of quinoa which range in color from ivory to pink, brown to red or almost black.  Quinoa has a pleasant, slightly crunchy, nutty taste. It can be used in salads, stuffing, risotto, breakfast cereal, or desserts.

Serves 4 to 6

1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
1 cooked corn on the cob, kernels sliced off with a knife
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt and black pepper
1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 handfuls cherry tomatoes, halved (assorted colors, if possible)
large handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
large handful fresh mint, chopped

rainbow quinoaBring quinoa and 1 1/4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and allow to cool to room temperature. In a shaker, combine lemon juice, garlic and olive oil.  Shake until well combined.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add quinoa to a large bowl and add cucumber, tomatoes, corn and herbs. Gently combine. Add dressing and toss to combine.

The Culinary Chase’s Note: If you’re having a party, chop tomatoes into bite-size pieces and spoon the quinoa mixture into endive spears – finger food at its best. Enjoy!