As with many grain based salads, this is merely a template for mixing and matching different kinds of quinoa and vegetables, depending on your mood, the season, what you have in the fridge.
I bought red quinoa on impulse, and then was too intimidated to use it for a while, but now realize the colors are pretty interchangeable. The cooking times may vary slightly – follow package directions – and the texture ranges from chewy (white) to crunchier (black) but it takes a pretty evolved palate to distinguish significant flavor differences between the varieties.
My point being: use whichever one you want, and enjoy the gorgeous colors.
This one was inspired by leftovers in my fridge (as almost all of my grain based salads are) and also a recipe in Molly Watson’s book Greens & Grains, which is filled with excellent recipes for the way we’re all interested in eating right now. The photos ain’t too shabby either.
The yield of this salad is large as I was making it for a potluck meal. You are welcome to cut the recipe in half. Or, if you want the dish to be more vegetable-heavy, with the grains playing more of a supporting, or at least ensemble role, just reduce the amount of quinoa.
If you’re wondering what those other pretty salads are, they are:
A pretty nice salad assortment for a substantial buffet.
Add a can of rinsed drained chickpeas if you want more protein and substance.
Red Quinoa Salad with Arugula, Artichoke Hearts, and Olives
- 4 ¼ cups water
- Coarse or kosher salt to taste
- 3 tablespoons virgin olive oil divided
- 3 large shallots minced (about ⅔ cup)
- 2 cups red quinoa 1 12-ounce package; see Note
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- ⅔ cup chopped good olive green, black, or a mixture
- 2 14-ounce cans artichoke hearts well drained and chopped
- 2 5-ounce containers arugula roughly chopped
- ½ cup chopped fresh mint leaves
- Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan. Add a bit of salt.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add the shallots and sauté for about 4 minutes until tender and golden. Add the quinoa and stir occasionally for about 2 minutes until it is well coated with the shallot-oil mixture. Pour in the boiling water, stir, cover and simmer over medium-low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes until the water is absorbed and the quinoa has sprouted those little tendrils that let you know that it is cooked (but also check your package directions!). Turn off the heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes.
- Combine the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and lemon juice in a large, shallow serving bowl with salt (remember that the olives are salty) and pepper to taste. Fluff the quinoa with a fork, let it sit uncovered for another 5 minutes to cool slightly (if you have the patience to wash another dish, spread it out on a rimmed baking sheet to let it cool more evenly), then turn it into the serving bowl and toss to coat with the dressing. Add the olives and artichoke hearts, toss again to mix well, and let cool to room temperature. Add the arugula and mint, toss again, taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve at room temperature. You can also refrigerate the salad for up to 2 days and serve either chilled or at room temperature.
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