Quinoa, a high-protein grain, combines with crisp, colorful vegetables and tart vinaigrette for a delicious main-dish salad. Creamy queso anejo balances the tartness of the dressing. Queso blanco or ricotta salata are good substitutes.
3/4 cup coarsely chopped onion (about 1/2 medium)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons Champagne vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound tomatillos (about 4 medium), husked and quartered
1/2 serrano chile, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
3 cups water
2 cups uncooked quinoa (about 3/4 pound)
1 cup thinly sliced peeled English cucumber
4 large radishes, halved and thinly sliced
1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 cup (2 ounces) queso anejo, crumbled
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
How to Make It
Place first 10 ingredients in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Set aside.
Place 3 cups water in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil. Stir in quinoa; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle with tomatillo mixture; stir well to combine. Cool.
Add cucumber, radish, and red bell pepper to cooled quinoa mixture; toss gently to combine. Divide salad among each of 6 plates; top evenly with cheese and parsley.
Hart and Hind Fitness Ranch, Rio Frio, Texas
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The dressing was amazing, but the flavor of it got lost once I mixed in the veggies, making the whole thing taste like a pretty standard quinoa salad and not living up to its potential. So next time, I would make at least half again as much dressing, or maybe even double it, and throw in a can of beans to make it more of a main dish.