I’ve still been thinking a lot about inspiration: Where does it come from? Why do we get into the kitchen and cook a specific recipe? This week my inspiration comes from a recent meal: I joined friends a few weeks ago at a new restaurant in Buschwick and someone suggested a crunchy quinoa salad with citrus vinaigrette. The dish came out as a big billowing bowl of fluffy quinoa that was so delicious I managed to completely finish it off. I’ve been thinking of it since, and the combination is so simple, I decided to put together a version myself.
I had planned on crisping up some of the quinoa to add crunch, but in a combination of haste and laziness, I left the container of cooked quinoa in the fridge overnight, uncovered, and the top layer developed a nice, firm crunch. Not sure if that’s a pro tip, but it worked. If you do want to try crisping up some of the quinoa, take ½ cup of the cooked and cooled quinoa and lightly fry in vegetable oil. I plan on eating this salad over some chopped kale as my lunchtime salads this week, but it also makes a nice side dish for a group dinner.
Citrus Quinoa Salad with Pomegranate and Fennel
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
½ cup citrus juice (combination of orange, lemon, grapefruit)
½ cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 large bunch mint, thinly chopped
2 cups quinoa, cooked and cooled
1 pomegranate, seeded
Stalks from 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
Freshly cracked black pepper
In a medium bowl, whisk together the juice, oil, and honey until well combined. Add in the mint and stir throughly. (This can also be done in a food processor for a smoother texture.) Let dressing sit at least one hour, or overnight, to allow flavors to develop. Combine the quinoa, pomegranate seeds, and fennel slices in a bowl and cover with the dressing. Mix together, season well with salt and pepper, and serve.