This black quinoa salad has a wonderful mixture of bright and rich flavors, thanks to the easy orange cumin dressing.
Last week my husband came home from a trip to Whole Foods, clutching a bag of dark grains in his hand. He had gone in hopes of replenishing our supply of red quinoa, but ventured into a bin in the bulk food sections labeled "Black Quinoa". Aside from the darker color, this new version of one of our favorite grains didn't look significantly different from its red sibling and, therefore, I assumed that the taste and texture would be the same.
According to Ernie New and John McCamant, two farmers who live in the high San Luis valley of Colorado, black quinoa was born by chance. When New and McCamant attempted to duplicate the growing conditions of the Andean Mountains, the seed of the white quinoa crossed with lamb's quarter, a native North American plant. The result was a new species that is now called black quinoa. While the shape of the grain is similar to the traditional white and red versions, the texture is slightly crunchier and has a significantly nuttier flavor.
If you are unable to find black quinoa, don't fret; this salad works just as well with white or red quinoa. The orange and cumin dressing, mixed with tender golden raisins, lends a Moroccan flavor to this easy side dish. It is a satisfying accompaniment to grilled meat. Alternatively, pair with beans for a protein-packed vegetarian meal. The leftovers, if there are any, can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
How to make black quinoa salad:
Pour quinoa into a fine mesh strainer and rinse until the water runs clear.
In a medium saucepan, combine quinoa, water and golden raisins. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until all of the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork and transfer to a medium bowl. Allow the quinoa to cool to room temperature.
Make the dressing:
In a small bowl, whisk together fresh orange juice, ground cumin and salt. While whisking, slowly pour in olive oil.
Toss the quinoa with the dressing and sliced green onions. Serve.
Other quinoa recipes:
Moroccan Black Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup black quinoa red or white quinoa can be substituted
- 2 cups water
- 2 green onions thinly sliced
- Pour the quinoa into a fine mesh strainer and rinse until the water runs clear.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa, water and golden raisins. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low.
- Cook until all of the water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and transfer to a medium bowl. Allow the quinoa to cool to room temperature.
- Toss the quinoa with the dressing and sliced green onions. Serve.
- In a small bowl, whisk together fresh orange juice, ground cumin and salt. While whisking, slowly pour in olive oil.
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