I love grain salads for lunch and I also find them perfect for potlucks and holiday meals, because you can make them ahead (they don’t suffer at all if they sit for a while) and they’re great at room temperature. It’s best to use grains that are fluffy and stay separate when cooked. A small victory for guaranteeing this texture is to spread out the hot cooked grains on a baking sheet as soon as possible.This cools them down quickly and lets all the excess steam evaporate. Another small victory here is planning ahead.Just as it takes about the same amount of time to roast two chickens as it does to roast one, making extra grains guarantees you’re always a step closer to easily preparing something healthful and wholesome at home.
1 cup [180 g] quinoaKosher salt
1/4 cup [60 ml] extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 cup [70 g] whole raw hazelnuts, crushed (a rolling pinmakes quick work of this)
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 large handfuls baby arugula and/or soft, leafy herbs(parsley, dill, chives, etc.), roughly chopped
4 oz [115 g] fresh goat cheese, crumbled
Rinse the quinoa thoroughly in a fine-mesh strainer (this may sound like an annoying step, but don’t skip it since quinoa’s natural coating tastes soapy). Put the rinsed quinoa in a medium saucepan with 13/4 cups [420 ml] water and 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover,and simmer until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water,softened, and each grain has “spiraled,” about 12 minutes.
Transfer the quinoa to a baking sheet and use a spoon to spread it out. Let cool to room temperature, then transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the hazelnuts, sprinkle with a large pinch of salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until the nuts are dark brown, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the hazelnuts and all of their fragrant oil to the bowl with the quinoa, along with the lemon juice and arugula. Stir everything together and season to taste with salt. Scatter the goat cheese on top of the quinoa and drizzle the whole thing evenly with a good glug of olive oil.Serve immediately.
MIX COOKED QUINOA with chopped and roasted zucchini and black sesame seeds and dress with a mixture of equal parts extra-virgin olive oil, soy sauce,and rice wine vinegar.
FOR A SUPER-RETRO COMBINATION, combine cooked quinoa with perfectly diced carrots and frozen peas that you’ve cooked in salted water. Stir everything together with plenty of butter and serve warm.
FOR A REALLY SATISFYING SIDE DISH, mix cooked quinoa with roasted mushrooms and top with a few Pickled Red Onions . For a main course, top each serving with a fried or poached egg.