Monday, December 26, 2011

Winter Quinoa Salad

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas, everyone! This was my first vegetarian Christmas, so I decided to make a dish to complement the festive spread. Initially I made it as a replacement for myself for the turkey, but everyone ended up trying it as a side dish and it turned out to be a hit! I thought I'd share the recipe; let me know if you try it and if you use any variations on ingredients!

Winter Quinoa Salad

Quinoa (approximately 1/2 a cup)
Goat cheese
Firm tofu, cubed
Pomegranate seeds
Chopped walnuts
1 orange
Dark maple syrup
olive oil

Boil water, stir in the quinoa, then turn heat to a low setting and simmer for 15 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes, then fluff it with a fork and let it cool. Set it aside. Crack open a pomegranate and release the seeds (I used 1/2 Martha Stewart's method, 1/2 the underwater method -- YouTube search it -- and grab your apron!). Set those aside as well. Cube the tofu (I used 1/2 a block) and marinate it in dark maple syrup, olive oil and juice from 1/2 an orange. Remove tofu from the marinade after about 20 minutes and blot dry to prepare it for the frying pan. Fry the tofu cubes in an olive-oiled pan until they are brown and crispy on at least two sides. This will cook faster than you think, and the maple syrup may burn in the pan, so work quickly! Spoon the quinoa into a large bowl, and stir in arugula. If the quinoa is still a bit warm it will wilt the greens, it depends if you like them leafy or wilted. Top with tofu, goat cheese, walnuts and pomegranate seeds. Drizzle with olive oil and the juice from the other half of the orange. Serve with a smile!

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