Hye Thyme Cafe: Pretty in Pink Quinoa Salad

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Pretty in Pink Quinoa Salad

Pretty in Pink Quinoa Salad : Hye Thyme Cafe

When life hands you lemons beets, re-name your recipe. I had originally planned to refer to this as a Quinoa Salad with Lime Vinaigrette, but since the beets turned the quinoa pink, I changed my mind. That iiiiiiisss a woman's prerogative you know!  😉

I'll keep it short today - I usually blab on and on. Suffice it to say, the combination of ingredients is "just right." No one flavor/ingredient overpowers the rest. It strikes a very nice balance.

Although a vinaigrette is typically a 1:3 ratio of vinegar to oil, unless it's a green salad, where the vinegar might run straight through to the bottom of the bowl/plate, I prefer equal parts vinegar/oil. I like the brightness of flavor and the reduction of fat, even though olive oil is a healthy fat. OK, that's it ... let the chopping begin.

1 c quinoa
2 c water
pinch of salt
1/8 t salt
1/8 t black pepper
1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 - 1/2 t cumin
1 t sugar
1 small clove garlic
1/2 t mayonnaise
1/4 c white balsamic vinegar
1/4 c fresh lime juice
1/2 c Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 c small diced cucumber
1 c small diced yellow bell pepper
1 c grape tomato halves
3 scallions, sliced
15-20 mint leaves, rolled and sliced into ribbons
1 beet, small diced 

Bring the water and quinoa up to a boil.  Add a pinch of salt, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until bloomed and the liquid has absorbed - about 20".

While that is cooking, gather your dressing ingredients and either whisk or blend in a food processor or blender. I like having one of those little bullet blenders on hand for things like this. Just FYI, the mayo acts as an emulsifier, but you could replace it with mustard if you prefer. I used the mayo because it's more neutral; I wasn't looking to add another flavor.

While the quinoa is still warm, fluff it with a fork, pour over about half of the dressing and fluff it again. That will give the quinoa a chance to soak up some of that flavor as it cools.

Once all of your add-ins are chopped, fluff the quinoa again and stir everything but the beets in with the fork.  

Add more dressing to taste, then add the beets at the end - unless you're really going for a lot of color.

Pretty in Pink Quinoa Salad : Hye Thyme Cafe

Pretty in Pink Quinoa Salad : Hye Thyme Cafe

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