Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes, Feta, Bell Pepper & Pine Nuts

Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes, Feta, Bell Pepper & Pine Nuts  (22) wm

Quinoa is an ancient grain from the Andean region of South American, including Peru.  While my husband and I were in Peru last month we actually didn’t eat any quinoa – our guide for the Choquequirao trek said that most of the quinoa is exported out of the country and what remains is expensive.  While at home in Colorado we eat a lot of quinoa, mainly in salads because it’s not so great on its own.  This is a quick and easy salad, perfect for those warm nights.

Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes, Feta, Bell Pepper & Pine Nuts  (3) wm

Serves 4-6

time: roughly 40 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked quinoa, cooked per package directions

cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1/2  orange bell pepper, sliced in bite-size pieces

1/2 red bell pepper, sliced in bite-size pieces

green onion, sliced thinly

cucumber, peeled and sliced in bite-size pieces

kalamata olives, sliced in half

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

black pepper

kosher salt

feta cheese

pine nuts

 

Directions:

1) Cook the quinoa according to the package instructions – remove from heat and let cool.

2) After washing the vegetables cut them and set aside on the cutting board.   Slice the kalamata olives in half.

3) In a serving bowl combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, black pepper and salt.  Stir, and add additional olive oil, balsamic vinegar, black pepper or salt if needed.

4) Toast the pine nuts to a golden brown.

5) Add the quinoa and vegetables to the olive oil and balsamic vinegar mixture and stir well to combine.

6) Top with the toasted pine nuts and feta cheese (if you won’t be eating all of the quinoa salad just add the pine nuts and feta cheese to each plate).

 

 

Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes, Feta, Bell Pepper & Pine Nuts  (40) wm

Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes, Feta, Bell Pepper & Pine Nuts  (6) wm

Orzo & Wild Rice Pilaf

Orzo & Wild Rice Pilaf (11) WM

What a thought to mix orzo and wild rice!  It’s a pretty good combo.  Add sun dried tomato pesto, kalamata olives, feta cheese and toasted pine nuts and it’s amazing!

  • 1 cup wild rice & water (or chicken broth) per package instructions
  •  1/2 cup orzo pasta & water per package instructions
  • coconut oil (or other high-heat oil)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or grated
  • 1/3 cup kalamata olives
  • Sun dried tomato pesto
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Bulgarian feta (if you can find it, if not regular feta)
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts

1) Cook the wild rice according to the package directions.  It usually takes close to an hour to make in my rice cooker, so plan accordingly.

2) After the wild rice has started to cook, boil about 1.5 cups of water for the orzo.  Add the orzo once the water has boiled and cook on medium heat until cooked through (it’s pasta, so it should be al dente).

3) When the wild rice and orzo have finished cooking combine and fluff in a large bowl.

4) Heat up a small skillet and toast the pine nuts – be sure not to burn them.

5) Use the skillet from toasting the pine nuts and add a bit of oil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and add the crushed garlic.  Saute for a minute until it is golden brown, be sure to not burn it.

6) Stir the sauteed garlic into the wild rice and orzo mixture; scoop out about 2-3 tablespoons of the sun dried tomato pesto and stir until combined.

7) Add a bit of salt and pepper (to taste) and kalamata olives to the wild rice, orzo, garlic and olive oil salad.  Stir to combine.

8) Scoop out the wild rice and orzo pilaf onto individual plates and sprinkle the toasted pine nuts and feta cheese over the tops.

 

Orzo & Wild Rice Pilaf (16) WM

Orzo & Wild Rice Pilaf (6) WM