Thursday, February 12, 2009

Meatless recipe: Quinoa and edamame salad

Since I listened to the interview with Mark Bittman, I have been renewing my efforts to try more recipes featuring whole grains and beans in an effort to reduce my personal contributions to the destruction of the planet.

I find it a lot easier to cut back on meat than on other animal products, but I have been trying. It's interesting that things that are good for the environment are also generally cheaper and better for your health.

I had a wonderful edamame and quinoa salad at the Jefferson Market in Ann Arbor once, so I went searching for a similar recipe and found this one at Epicurious. I tweaked it to make it more like what I remembered having at The Jeff.

Ingredient note: I used Ancient Harvest brand quinoa, which is prewashed. If you buy another brand, you need to rinse it first in a fine-meshed strainer under running water. Otherwise it will taste soapy. I have found that I like quinoa best in cold salads. It just doesn't taste as good hot for some reason. My version of the recipe:

Quinoa and Edamame Salad

1 1/2 cups dry quinoa
3 cups water
1 T. salt

1 cup shelled frozen edamame, thawed
1/2 c. dried bing cherries, chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
1/2 c. chives, finely chopped (you could also use green onions)

2 T. sesame oil
1 T. rice vinegar
1 T. mirin
1 T. soy sauce
1 tsp. grated ginger (I buy it in a little yellow tube from the Asian market)
1/2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds (optional)

shelled, roasted, salted sunflower seeds (0ptional)

Mix together the sesame oil, rice vinegar, mirin, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and ginger to make the dressing.

Put the quinoa, salt, and water into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil it for five minutes, then remove from the heat and cover. Let it sit for 15 minutes. Then add the vegetables, chives, cherries, and dressing and mix everything together. Let it sit, covered, for another few minutes (especially if you haven't fully thawed the edamame). Transfer to a large airtight container and chill for several hours. The dressing has a very intense flavor so that little bit went a long way.

One cup of the salad with 2 tablespoons of the sunflower seeds (don't add them until right before serving or they will get mushy) and a side of mixed greens was a great meal for me. My husband liked it too so I'm not sure how many total servings it made. I got two (one for dinner and one for lunch the next day) and he had the rest.

I should have taken a picture, but I never think of that until it's too late. It was pretty, though, and might be nice to take to a potluck or picnic for an adventurous crowd.

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