Quinoa salad with apricot, pistachio and fresh herbs
Jessica Webster | AnnArbor.com
I was skeptical when I bought the pot. Would all those herbs get along nicely without having to be repotted or planted in a garden? The clerk assured me that they would be fine, as long as I kept using the herbs and didn’t let them bolt.
That sounded fine. I walked off with my giant pot and dreams of omelets filled with herbs and goat cheese. Maybe some pasta with pesto.
Eventually though, the herb omelets and the pesto varieties started to get a little bit tedious, and the parsley looked like it was staging a hostile takeover of the poor thyme. It was time to find a recipe to answer the age-old question: What do I do with all these herbs?
This tasty salad makes great use of all that parsley, as well as the mint that is probably taking over your back yard as you read this. (What, you weren’t short-sighted enough to plant mint in the ground? You did believe your mom when she told you how tenacious that weed — I mean herb — is? You’ve kept your mint potted? You’re smarter than I am.)
I adapted this recipe from one I found in Fine Cooking Magazine. The original recipe calls for bulgur, but I swapped in an equal amount of quinoa instead. Not only is it a high-protein ancient grain; it’s also gluten free.
A note on the herbs: I have found that the best way to wash them is to dunk them in a large bowl of cold water. Swish them around a little to loosen the dirt, then fish them out with your hands. If there is dirt in the bottom of the bowl, dump out the dirty water, fill it back up, and dunk the herbs again. Repeat the process until the water appears clear. Then either spin the herbs dry in a salad spinner or pat them dry with a clean dish towel.
Quinoa Salad with Herbs, Apricots and Pistachios (adapted from a recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine)
2 cups quinoa
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup minced yellow onion
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup chopped roasted, salted, shelled pistachios
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
Freshly ground black pepper
In a 12-inch skillet, toast the quinoa over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spatula, until aromatic and just a shade darker, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl.
In a 1- to 2-quart pot, bring 2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon salt to a simmer over medium-high heat.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the quinoa, apricots, 1 teaspoon salt, and the simmering water. Cover the skillet and remove from the heat. Let stand until the quinoa is tender and has completely absorbed the liquid, 30 to 40 minutes. Gently fold in the parsley, cilantro, mint, and pistachios.
The dressing: In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the remaining 2/3 cup olive oil in a slow stream.
Drizzle the salad with the dressing, season to taste with more salt and pepper, and serve.
Jessica Webster leads the Food & Grocery section for AnnArbor.com, a part of the MLive Media Group. Reach her at JessicaWebster@annarbor.com. You also can follow her on Twitter or subscribe to AnnArbor.com's email newsletters.