Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) was an ancient food staple for the Inca civilization and has been cultivated for more than 5,000 years. Its health benefits are huge. Quinoa contains more proteins than any other grain, is a good source of dietary fiber, gluten free and easy to digest, is high in magnesium, potassium and iron and a good source of phosphorous, calcium, vitamin E and several B vitamins. 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’s, breakfast cereal, desserts. Not only is this a nutritious dish, it’s also perfect finger food!
Serves 8 as an appetizer
adapted from Munchin with Munchkin
1 cup asparagus, finely chopped
3 Belgian endives
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
¼ cup arugula (rocket), finely chopped
¼ cup radishes, finely sliced and cut in half
¼ cup pear, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh dill, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 200c (400f). In a medium bowl, combine chopped asparagus, one shredded endive, minced garlic, one tablespoon of lemon juice, and one tablespoon of olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a roasting pan or skillet and bake for 7-9 minutes until vegetables are tender. Let cool.
In the meantime, prepare the endive by peeling the leaves off the remaining two Belgian endives. Place on a serving tray and set aside. In a small skillet, toast pine nuts over medium high heat for 1-2 minutes, stirring often, until lightly browned. Set aside. In a small bowl, create the dressing by combining remaining lemon juice and olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste.
In a large bowl toss together quinoa, poppy seeds, arugula, radishes, pear, dill, and roasted asparagus with the prepared dressing. Place one to two tablespoons of the salad on the endive leaves. Serve at room temperature.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: I love the different textures happening in this salad! Instead of roasting the vegetables, I cooked the asparagus in a frying pan with a touch of olive oil just until al dente and removed from the pan. I let the asparagus cool and then tossed them in a bowl with all the other ingredients. Enjoy!