Quinoa, Arugula, and Fig Salad/Salade de Quinoa, Roquette e Figues
*Recipe from The Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Cookbook by Amy Riolo. This French spin on tabbouleh replaces bulgur wheat with nutritious quinoa—the ancient grain that supplies all nine essential amino acids—making it a complete protein! If fresh figs are not in season, substitute pears, apples, oranges, or the fruit of your choice. In addition to being used in this salad, cooked quinoa tastes great at breakfast with fruit, cinnamon, chopped nuts, and milk.
1 cup (185 g) dry quinoa, rinsed
½ cup (118 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ teaspoon unrefined sea salt or salt
Black pepper, to taste
1 pint (228 g) fresh figs, quartered
11 ounces (312 g) baby arugula
Bring 2 cups (475 ml) of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the quinoa, stir, reduce heat to low, and cover. Allow to simmer until all liquid is absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the stove and allow to cool completely. Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper together to form vinaigrette.
Place the quinoa in a large bowl and lightly fluff with a fork. Combine with the vinaigrette. Gently stir in figs. Place the arugula on a platter. Pour the quinoa mixture over the arugula and serve.
Yield: 4 servings as a vegetarian main or 8 as a side dish
A new trend in the Mediterranean region is to use quinoa instead of rice in traditional recipes. Try adding cooked quinoa to soups, beans, and stews to increase their nutritional value. You can also use cooked quinoa as a bed for main courses. A terrific variation on this salad substitutes the juice of 1 orange for the lemon, and 2 cups fresh berries and 11 ounces baby spinach for the figs and arugula.