Thursday, August 4, 2011

Quinoa and Blue Potato Salad

Sorry for the lack of posts, but the past couple of weeks have been insane. Last week I was at a conference in California, which was hugely informative and inspiring but also tiring. When I wasn't attending talks and poster sessions I was sleeping to prepare my brain for more learning. As soon as I got home it was time for Austin and I to start packing for our move this coming Saturday. As pretty much anyone who's moving says, you don't realize how much stuff you have until you're forced to deal with it all at once. Ugh! Thank goodness we've hired movers.

Needless to say, I haven't been cooking a lot lately. Fortunately, I had a few posts saved (which I'd intended to share while I was at the conference -- so much for good intentions) so I'll be able to keep posting during this crazy time. Because my last few recipes required using an oven (which even I cringe at in this triple digit weather), I decided to focus on more summery foods for a bit.

This salad was inspired by two of our finds at the farmers market: blue potatoes and cherry tomatoes. The potatoes were labeled as "all blue", which I thought meant blue-fleshed, when really they were just tie-dye-ish on the inside. They were still pretty and really tasty, especially when paired with another local favorite, sweet cherry tomatoes, crunchy pepitas, and toothsome quinoa. The salad was light enough for a summer night but hearty enough to be a meal in it's own right.

Quinoa and Blue Potato Salad
Makes 4 servings
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 1/4 lb / 565 g new blue potatoes (other new potatoes would work just as well), scrubbed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded if you'd like
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Optional: Pepitas or pumpkin seeds for garnish
1.  In a small pot, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the quinoa, cooking for about 5-7 minutes or until it's toasted and fragrant. Pour in the broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes (or however long the package indicates) or until all the liquid is absorbed. Fill a large pot 3/4 of the way with water and bring it to a boil. Salt the water and add the potatoes. Cook them for 8-12 minutes or until tender. Drain them and set them aside.

2.  While the quinoa and the potatoes are cooking, make the dressing. Add the oil, lime juice, jalapeño, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper to a mini food processor (or a regular sized one, if that's what you've got) and blend until smooth.

3.  Once the quinoa and potatoes are done, add them to a large bowl along with the bell pepper, onion, cherry tomatoes and cilantro. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Serve chilled or room temperature, garnished with some pepitas if you'd like.

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