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Mill City Cooks

Quinoa and Cucumber Salad

by Market Chef Jenny Breen

Serves 10 to 12

I invented this recipe because I really wanted a cool summery grain salad, but something besides quinoa tabbouleh (nothing against that wonderful dish, but there’s more to life than mint). It is a joy to cook with sesame oil–its nutty flavor stands up to cooking and adds a wonderful layer of complexity to any dish. The balance of the fruity tang of the juice with the mustard and honey are well wedded with the cucumbers and currants. The crunch of the nuts is a finishing grace note.

The Family Kitchen: In addition to chopping cucumbers and chard leaves, this recipe has a lot of room for variation, so encourage the kids to taste and describe the flavors, and come up with other ingredients to add or to use as substitutes for those listed.

Salad:
2 large cucumbers, halved and sliced
2 cups quinoa cooked in 3 3/4 cups water
1 sweet onion, sliced thinly
½ cup currants
1 bunch chard leaves (or other greens like spinach, lacinato kale or mustard), chopped
1 cup toasted cashews or pecans (See Toasting Nuts, page X)
 
Dressing:
¼ cup toasted sesame oil
¼ cup safflower or canola oil
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons mustard
2 tablespoons tamari
¼ cup orange or apple juice

 

In a small bowl, combine dressing ingredients and mix well. In a larger bowl, combine salad ingredients and pour dressing over salad. Mix well and refrigerate until very cold. Serve as is or over a bed of greens.