I have never actually made quinoa before…. so this was quite the adventure! I think for my first try, I did pretty well, I mean it is edible after all. If you too have never made quinoa, theres plenty of literature out there on the super grain. Just visit Pinterest or search quinoa online. If you have never heard of quinoa, then you must have a terrible headache from living under a rock for the past couple years. I've heard of it but I have very little knowledge about what actually makes quinoa so good for you. Without getting into the specifics, quinoa if chock-full of nutrients! In fact it is so nutrient dense that it is considered a complete protein (yay for vegetarians!). There are so many different ways to utilize quinoa such as cold (like this salad), hot (served like rice or pasta), or even ground into a flour and used in baking.
I call this rustic quinoa because I just took a few things that I had in my kitchen along with some of my favorite things and threw them together. It turned out that it all goes really well together! I picked up a package of bulgar and quinoa mix that I found at Meijer in the health foods section. It's made by Meijer Naturals if your looking for the same thing.
First thing is to prepare the quinoa and bulgar. Begin by measuring 1 cup quinoa/bulgar and 2 cups of water. Lightly salt the water and bring to a boil.
Once it is rapidly boiling, reduce to a simmer a cover, cooking for about 10 minutes. You'll know its done when all of the water has been absorbed.
This salad is good both warm and cold so you can let cool if desired. Toss with spinach, pecan pieces, chopped, fresh basil, dried cranberries, and diced tomatoes. I finished it off with a drizzle of strawberry balsamic vinegar from the wonderful Old World Olive Co located in the Downtown Market on Ionia Street, Grand Rapids. I enjoyed it as a main dish, but it can easily be served as a side dish plated with a nice apple braised pork chop.