Strawberry season ends quickly after it arrives, so when it’s here I try to enjoy strawberries in every way possible- sweet or savory. This salad is probably my favorite way to enjoy them. A hint of jalapeño for kick, pistachio for crunch and the tang of lime and mint perfectly round out the strawberries. I do recommend chilling a bottle of white wine before you get this going… Since quinoa is a complete protein, as well as a source of low glycemic carbohydrates, and the nuts/feta provides fat, this dish qualifies as a complete meal on it’s own or as a satisfying accompaniment to lean proteins or grilled vegetables. I’ve provided detailed instructions on how to get fluffy pilaf-style quinoa. If you aren’t a perfectionist or are in a hurry, feel free to cook the quinoa as you normally would.
Ingredients: 1 cup quinoa
1 3/4 cups hot water
1/2 quart strawberries, small/medium dice (I like to quarter a few for presentation 🙂 )
1 shallot, fine dice/mince
1 jalapeño pepper, fine dice/mince
handful fresh mint, chiffonade
handful fresh parsley, basil or tarragon, finely chopped
zest and juice of 1 lime (a little more than a tablespoon of juice)
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for kale
4 cups baby kale, or cut lacinato kale
fresh lemon juice, for kale
2 ounces goat cheese or feta, crumbled
1/4 cup whole pistachios
What to do: Rinse quinoa to remove the bitter-soapy coating called saponin (unless your quinoa says “pre-washed”). Drain thoroughly and toast in 1.5 quart saucepan until dry and starting to smell toasty. Pour in hot water and a pinch of sea salt, stir and cover. Reduce heat to low and cook about 15 minutes, until a fork scraping the bottom shows no water. Turn off heat and let steam, covered, for 10 minutes and then uncovered for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and you’ve got perfect quinoa! While the quinoa cools begin to prep other ingredients. Add strawberries, shallot, jalapeño, herbs, olive oil, lime zest/juice and a pinch of salt to quinoa and toss gently. In a medium bowl, toss kale with a little olive oil, lemon and salt. Top with quinoa mixture and garnish with pistachios and goat cheese. Here you can either serve it nice and pretty with strawberry quarters and a little mint or just mix it all together.