Quinoa Salmon Salad with Fresh Lemon and Dill

quinoa salmon  dill lemon salad

quinoa salmon lemon and dill salad photo by vsimon

It’s too hot to cook!

Luckily, I have some leftover salmon from yesterday. What to do with it?

Quinoa is quick on the stovetop, it won’t heat up the kitchen.  I have lemons and celery in the fridge. Dried tomatoes in the freezer. And lots of fresh dill in the garden.

Quinoa colors

White, red, black, purple, orange? I have used white and red, the only difference is the color. Any color would work here, use whatever you have.

Wild or farm raised salmon?

There is only one answer for me, wild caught Alaskan salmon. Click on the link for a thorough review of all the issues at World’s Healthiest Foods website.

Lemons 1, 2, or 3?

You choose. Are you timid, or do you like lots of tangy lemon flavor? Are you making this to serve right away, or for tomorrow?

We like sharp, fresh lemon flavor and heady aroma. Personally, I almost don’t think you can get too much. And the flavor fades over time. So I made this with the zest and juice of two lemons for tonight. And will add the zest and juice of a third lemon before I serve the leftovers tomorrow.

I buy fresh lemons by the bag, not one at a time. Don’t even bother with that insipid bottled juice. And add fresh zest to anything that calls for juice.

And I hope you know, fresh lemons are a great way to add flavor to foods without adding a whole bunch of salt.

Dried tomatoes?

Yep, that is what I have. Dried from last years garden. Red, yellow and orange tomatoes. I know they look like colored bell peppers in the picture, but they are tomatoes. Come to think of it, sweet peppers would be good in this salad, but I didn’t have any.

I keep our thin dried tomatoes in the freezer because they are crispy and easy to break up into smaller pieces by hand. At room temp they are leathery and I need to cut them with a knife or scissors.

Our crop of garden tomatoes won’t be ripe until August. But by all means, use fresh tomatoes if you have good ones. I would stir in about 1 cup diced raw tomatoes at the end. Don’t cook them with the quinoa.

Fresh dill

Dill is a two-fer. The seeds and the soft feathery green fronds each have their purpose. Use the fronds here. Vince puts whole seed spays in jars of pickles. They are pretty and add flavor there.

Go ahead, plant this fragrant herb in your garden. Dill is so easy, you will only have to do it once. You will get volunteers every year after.

Sow a few seeds it in the veggie or the flower garden. It quickly grows about three feet high, with a starburst of seeds at the top.

If you can’t find a packet of seeds, just buy dill seeds in the spice aisle and plant them.

Dried dill weed works well in this recipe too. It is mild, don’t be afraid to use a few tablespoons. But you will miss out on the distinctive fragrance of fresh stalks.

Fresh herbs are another great help to add flavor without lots of salt too.

Quinoa Salmon Salad with Lemon and Dill

1 cup quinoa

2 cups of water

1/4 cup dried tomatoes, chopped

1/4 pound cooked salmon, flaked

1/2 cup diced celery

1, 2, or 3 fresh lemons, zest and juice

1/2 cup chopped fresh dill weed, soft fronds only

salt to taste

Check the quinoa package to see if you need to rinse it before cooking. Many kinds are now prewashed, saving you a step.

Add quinoa, water and dried tomatoes to a saucepan. Simmer for 5 minutes. Then cover the pan and let stand for 15 more minutes. It always comes out fluffy, not mushy this way.

Spread the quinoa tomato mixture on a rimmed sheet pan to cool quickly.

When cool, transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add celery and dill.

Add the zest and juice of as many lemons as you like. Toss to mix thoroughly. Taste and chill until ready to serve.

Flower garnish

Did you notice the nasturtiums in the photo above? They are from our garden too, and edible. The flowers are bright, beautiful and peppery. They provide a surprising kick of heat. They are easy to grow in full sun, flowering all summer long.

Great Gluten Free Spaghetti and Marvelous Meatballs

Update 9/25/10

The post has disappeared from Healthy Eats. I have posted a similar version with the original recipe here.

Just a quick post today. For the full article and recipe, check out my guest post at Healthy Eats blog on gluten free spaghetti and meatballs.

 gluten free spaghetti and meatballs

Tinkyada brown rice spaghetti and meatballs photo by vsimon

I also wanted to include a photo of Ancient Harvest Gluten Free Supergrain Pasta, so you can compare the color to other pastas. Their gluten free pasta is made with corn and quinoa flours.

Ancient Harvest Quinoa corn spaghetti

Ancient Harvest Gluten Free Super Grain Linguine photo by vsimon

And I will share an admission. I didn’t carefully read the package and bought an Ancient Harvest variety that is made with quinoa and wheat. Even cooked it up and sampled it. Both boxes look nearly the same. And both were in the gluten free section of my grocery store. Oops! It was in the gluten free section, it must be OK, right? Unfortunately not always.

So again I say, read the labels carefully.

Care to share any goofs you have made?

Q is for Quinoa-Flake Fruit Crisp Topping

Pronounced keen-wa. It is a pseudocereal, which means the seeds are used like cereal grains, but the plant is not a true grass. You might not expect this, but quinoa is related to beets and spinach. Whole seeds, flakes and flour are eaten here. In some parts of the world, the greens are eaten also.

Quinoa is an ancient crop, considered sacred by the Incas. Christian Spanish conquistadors did not like that and banned quinoa. It has been a slow road back to popularity. And we can thank the gluten free diet for increased interest in delicious, nutritious quinoa.

 

quinoa-flower photo by net_efekt

Sopanins

Quinoa seeds have a natural coating called sopanins that taste soapy and bitter. It is a natural defense system that makes the seed distasteful to birds. They will not eat the crop in the field before it sprouts.

We do not like the taste of sopanins either and used to have to rinse the seeds with three changes of water. You could see the soapy bubbles disappear with each rinsing. But now, most commercially available quinoa is already rinsed for you. Modern day quinoa might qualify as convenience food!

Nutrition

Quinoa has more protein than any other grain, and it is complete protein.

The World’s Healthiest Foods notes: because quinoa is a very good source of manganese as well as a good source of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus, this “grain” may be especially valuable for persons with migraine headaches, diabetes and atherosclerosis.  

IMG_0562 

quinoa-flour-flakes-and-seeds photo by vsimon

Seeds, Flakes and Flour

My regular grocery store stocks quinoa seeds, flakes, and flour. I use all of them. The seeds are my favorite though. The tiny circular seeds cook to a fluffy texture and pleasant mild flavor. I love the seeds for hot breakfast cereal, warm pilafs and cold salads. I will be posting some of these recipes in the future.

Quinoa seeds cook in only 15 minutes, much quicker than whole grain rice. You can use it in place of rice in many dishes. Quinoa comes in white and natural red colors. I have only used the white, which seems a more versatile color to me.

The flakes are often used for hot cereal. Some describe the flavor and texture as mild and smooth. Think baby’s first food, like pablum. Some, my husband, call it mushy. He prefers the texture of cooked oatmeal.

The flakes really shine in fruit crisp toppings. See the recipe below.

I use the flour in breads and other baked goods. I do find the flour strong tasting. If it is a very large percentage of the flour in the dish, it can taste a bit soapy. Or like a lingering flavor of too much baking soda. So I use it when I am adding other flavorful ingredients.

quinoaflakecrisp

rhubarb-cherry-crisp-with-quinoa-flake-topping photo by vsimon

Summer Fruit Crisp

A summer fruit crisp is a tasty way to get acquainted with quinoa flakes. I use the topping for any number of fruits, singly and in combination.

Today we make rhubarb cherry crisp. You could just as easily use blueberries, peaches or apples. Use less sugar in the filling with sweeter fruit.

You can also use pretty much any whole grain gluten free flour you like.  But do not use soy flour, you will ruin the taste of perfectly good fruit.

You can bake the crisp in a medium pan, or use ramekins for individual servings. And the crisp freezes well. Make a lot and have some later in the week, or much later in the winter. I like to use pyrex containers with lids. The bottom is oven safe and the lid works great in the freezer. They are easy to stack too.

Rhubarb and Cherry Crisp

Serves 6

 

7/8 c sugar, divided

½ cup quinoa flakes

½ cup sorghum flour

½ cup nuts

¼ cup oil

6 cups total chopped rhubarb and tart cherries, in any combination

Preheat oven to 350-degrees.

In a small bowl, thoroughly mix ½ cup sugar, quinoa flakes, sorghum flour, nuts and oil.

Grease an 8×8 or 9×9 inch oven safe glass or ceramic pan. Or six individual ramekins. Put in the fruit, and sprinkle on the remaining sugar. Crumble the topping over the fruit.

Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the fruit is bubbly and the topping is toasty. Cool a bit before devouring, or you will burn your mouth. 🙂

Do you like quinoa as much as I do? What do you do with it?

Added 6-14-09 This rhubarb was the last of the season from our garden. I am happily submitting this post and recipe to Grow Your Own recipe roundup using our home grown produce. Hosted this time by Zora of gardenopolis.