Quinoa Salad with Pickled Radish and Feta

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“Quin-who? Quin-what?” That’s pretty much the reaction I got from my wife when I told here what I was making. “I don’t like radishes!” she proclaims. Yeah, well, all that skepticism ceased when she took a fork full.

Up until this day, when this dish was made, I had never eaten quinoa pronounced KEEN-wah or KEE-no-uh for those of you who don’t know. Most commonly considered a grain, quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. It is a recently rediscovered ancient “grain” once considered “the gold of the Incas.” They recognized its value in increasing the stamina of their warriors. Not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is complete protein, meaning that it includes all 8 (or is it 9, or 10?) essential amino acids. Another nutritional find for me because, even though quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse, packed with cardiovascular benefits, it provides migraine relief, fiber, and antioxidants, it doesn’t taste like I’m eating sand.

So I’m on the Rancho Gordo website buying beans and I see that they have quinoa that they get from some small Bolivian farmers and I had remembered seeing this recipe in Food and Wine magazine, so I pulled the trigger and bought a bag.
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I have since bought several more bags of quinoa as I will be incorporating it into my diet in a ginormous way. All kinds of ways to experiment with this seed. It cooks up just like rice; give it a cold water rinse, drain, add to boiling water (2:1 ratio), and 15 minutes later, plate.

This dish was nutty from the quinoa, tangy from the picked radishes and feta, and the texture and freshness from the cucumber and green beans just rounded the whole thing out. Try putting the quinoa seeds into a 400 degree-f oven for 5 minutes for an extra punch of nuttiness.
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