I love a good grain salad, especially in the summer. Served chilled, it’s perfect for hot days when we swap out heavy dishes for lighter fare. This recipe in particular has a lovely balance of flavors. It’s part fruity, part bold, part citrusy, and a total crowd pleaser. Serve it as an accompaniment to whatever’s coming off the backyard grill. Or eat it all on its own for lunch. Between the quinoa and the cashews, there’s enough protein in this recipe to keep you full until dinner.
If you haven’t yet embraced quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah), this recipe is a great introduction. Although it’s technically a seed, quinoa behaves like a grain. In fact, you can use quinoa just about any place you would use rice, and it cooks up in much the same way. Like rice, quinoa is also gluten-free. The kernels are small—about the size of couscous—but they pack a big nutritional punch. Quinoa is unique in the sense that it’s a complete protein, meaning it supplies all the amino acids we can’t make ourselves. Not many grains can do that!
Quinoa was a staple food of Andean peoples. The Incas considered it to be sacred, referring to it as chisoya mama, or “mother of all grains.” Today, over 90% of the quinoa that’s available in the U.S. comes from Bolivia or Peru.There are many varietals of quinoa; you may notice white, red, or black quinoa on Sunset’s shelves. Nutritionally, each variety is very similar. Experiment with different colors to keep your pantry interesting.