We made home-made pizzas, and needed something to serve with them. This salad is inspired by one served in my French class a few weeks ago. Although we adapted that dish a fair bit, it turned out great, and was suprisingly quick and easy to prepare.
If you're wondering, the anise/licorice flavor of the fennel doesn't stand out too much. Instead, it provides a subtle, perky, herbal flavor perfect for spring. Using quinoa as a "pasta salad alternative" provides variety, different nutrients, and it is a great source of complete proteins and amino acids.
- 1.5 C quinoa (pronounced "keen-wah")
- 3 C water
- ½ C + extra olive oil
- 1 C cabbage (chopped)*
- ½ C red onion (chopped)*
- ½ C celery (chopped)*
- 1 lemon (zested, then juiced)
- ½ tsp. cardamom
- 1 T fennel (fresh if you have it; dried; seeds – grind seeds with mortar & pestle before using)
- Salt & pepper
- Bring to a boil: 1.5 C Quinoa and 3 C Water; turn heat to low, cover with lid, and cook for 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, chop into ½- ¼ inch pieces: 1 C Cabbage, ½ C Red Onion, and ½ C Celery (volume when chopped). Mix vegetables and quinoa in a large bowl**, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat, then set aside.
- Zest one lemon, and set zest aside.
- Combine in a jar with a good lid: ½ C olive oil, juice from the zested lemon, ½ tsp. cardamom, and 1 T fennel. Shake well, and salt & pepper to taste. Pour over quinoa salad, and toss to coat.
- Sprinkle lemon zest over salad, lightly cover with salt and pepper, and set in refrigerator until ready to serve.
- *Use red varieties of these vegetables, if available, for added color. Substituting scallions (green onions, adds to the color impact).
- **Residual heat from cooked quinoa will soften but not cook vegetables, resulting in a pleasant but not overly crunchy texture.
Update: Made this again recently, with the following changes:
- Use celery and carrots only, and mix in golden raisins.
- Make the dressing using oil, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, a dash of cayenne, and some honey or sugar.
- It's delicious this way, too!