Tossed Quinoa Salad
This satisfying and light salad can be customized to make a great side dish or, with some grilled chicken, a quick and easy weeknight meal. “Quinoa is a protein-packed grain,” says Rich Sweeney, Southpaw Social Club’s consulting executive chef. “We use red quinoa, but feel free to use white, which is usually a little easier to find and slightly less expensive. When making the quinoa, try using vegetable or chicken stock or add garlic cloves or a minced onion to really kick up the flavor.” The dressing is packed with smoky cumin, which can be scaled down to taste.
Tossed Quinoa Salad
8-10 oz. wild baby arugula
⅓-½ c. toasted cumin vinaigrette (see recipe below)
1½ c. cherry or grape tomatoes, washed and halved
3 c. cooked quinoa, divided use
½ red onion, diced
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
Freshly cracked pepper (optional)
Place the arugula in a large bowl. Thoroughly mix the vinaigrette and pour it directly onto the bowl, just above where the greens are.
Add tomatoes and 1 cup of cold quinoa. (If serving warm, don’t put the quinoa on until just before you are about to serve). Using your hands, toss with the dressing to evenly coat.
Divide the dressed greens into four plates or bowls. Split the remaining quinoa into four portions on top of the salads, then sprinkle feta and onions on top. Serve with freshly cracked pepper.
Toasted Cumin Vinaigrette
Makes about 3 cups
½ c. Champagne or white wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
4 T. cumin seed, toasted, then ground (or use 3 T. of ground cumin, lightly toasted)
1 T. granulated garlic (or 2 t. garlic powder)
¼ c. granulated sugar
12 fresh mint leaves
2 c. canola oil or vegetable oil of your choice (avoid extra virgin olive oil)
Kosher salt to taste
Mix all ingredients, except oil and salt, in a blender on medium speed until puréed. Turn off the blender, scrape down the sides and blend again. With the blender on medium speed, slowly begin to stream in the oil until emulsified. Season to taste with kosher salt.
Chef’s Tip: Make this dressing a day ahead and the flavors will really meld together for a fuller flavor.
Consulting Executive Chef Rich Sweeney
Southpaw Social Club
815 J St.
San Diego, CA 92101