Saturday, February 22, 2014

Quinoa & Bean Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette

We just returned from a very relaxing holiday and were craving some of our favorite 'Canadian Foods'.  Cuba is famous for their 'black beans and rice' dish (which I just happen to love) and their fruits are delicious.  Their tomatoes at this time of the year are juicy and very tasty as are their cucumbers, seeing as it's still Winter here in Canada it is always a nice treat to be able to eat ' vegetables' fresh from the garden.  Tropical fruits such as watermelon, honeydew, pineapple and strawberry papaya - so sweet and juicy and we enjoyed them every morning for breakfast.  This salad has been a favorite of ours for many years - I first saw the original recipe in a Canadian Living magazine and have since adapted it to our tastes, this is my version below.  Passata tomatoes you can find in most tomato sections at the supermarket (or just drain you own canned tomatoes and blend) and you can change the type of beans/peas etc to your tastes - I love to use basil and oregano but the original version uses Italian herb mixture.
  I hope you enjoy this salad as much as we do.  It is great to make when the green beans are fresh from your very own garden and makes a wonderful summer lunch. This recipe makes a very large portion and is perfect to take to a potluck or any large gathering.

Quinoa & Bean Salad with Tomato Dressing

The ingredients you will need.

The Quinoa is cooked, the vegetables are diced and ready for the bowl.
The Kalamata olives will be sliced.

All the ingredients are assembled into a large bowl.

Tomato Vinaigrette is ready to dress the salad.
This healthy and colorful salad can be served as a main course or a side.

Quinoa and Bean Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette Recipe

Makes 10 servings

1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups green beans, trimmed and chopped
1 can mixed beans, chickpeas (or beans of your choice)
1 small onion, diced
1 sweet red pepper, diced
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, sliced

Tomato Vinaigrette:
1/3 cup bottled strained tomatoes, (passata)
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon honey (can add up to 3 TBSP  if you like)
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of cayenne

In saucepan, bring quinoa and 2 cups of water to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 12 minutes.  Fluff with fork and let cool.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan of boiling salted water, blanch green beans until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes.  Drain and refresh in bowl of ice water.  Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
Stir in the cooled quinoa, beans, onion, red pepper, feta cheese and olives.

Tomato Vinaigrette:  Whisk (or put into a small jar) together the tomatoes, vinegar, oil, honey, seasonings, salt, pepper and cayenne.  Pour over quinoa mixture and stir to coat.
It can served at room temperature or cold, add a nice crusty bread and you have a meal.

'The heart is like a garden.
It can grow compassion or fear, resentment or love.
What seeds will you plant there?

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