Spending time in such a health conscientious place like Los Angeles sparked my love for Quinoa. This super food is packed with protein and is amazingly gluten free. It looks similar to couscous but in reality its closely related to spinach and beetroot and is considered a grain crop. You cook it like rice and it can be served in tons of different ways from risotto to crunchy fried. I had a close friend who had never tried it, so when he invited me over to cook Mayura Wagyu steaks I knew the the perfect dish to serve along side.
Quinoa, Cucumber and Mint Salad with Pickled Red Onions and Lemon Oil Dressing
This is my absolute favorite way to serve Quinoa, I still am not sure how I feel about it served warm and savoury. This dish is more on the salad side of things and served cold. The mint and citrus really perk it up and make it extra light and super tasty for such a healthy little seed. I adapted this recipe from a restaurant I used to work at in Downtown LA.
White Quinoa, boiled and cooled.
Fresh Italian Parsley, some roughly chopped and some whole leaves for garnish
Fresh Mint, same with the Parley, some torn leaves, and a few whole for garnish
Cucumber, thinly sliced and the thinner the slices the better, I cheated and used a mandolin for this step. If you have Japanese sushi cucumbers or English cucumbers use them for this.
Cauliflower, you can either grate this or mandolin it as well, but keep it raw for a nice crunch.
I wanted something a little sour to go with this salad so I made some pickled red onions. I love vinegar, and all things pickled and this next quick recipe is something I could have on every plate.
Did I mention I love sour things? I like how it really cuts through thicker overpowering fatty flavors and restarts your taste buds for that next new bite. For this salad with all its herby brightness I wanted to help my tongue find the citrus notes with the help of vinegar.
These pickled red onions are one of my favorite garnishes for tons of things and I like to keep a jar at all times prepped in the fridge. Here is the recipe, they are actually very quick and easy to make for a pickled product.
Red Onions, sliced thin into half moon strings, I use around four small firm onions. Boil a pot of water. Place your sliced onions in a colander or strainer. Blanch in the hot water for less than a minute and drain so they are softened. Then place the red onions in your pickling jar with the rest of the following ingredients.
Sugar, a couple tablespoons to taste, depends on how sweet you want them to be.
Salt, I used like one and a half Tablespoon, but this total depends on your preference.
Garlic Clove, whole or however you like it, and as much as you like.
Tiny Pearl Onions, like a handful.
Rice Vinegar and White Wine Vinegar, about 4-8 ounces each. Make a 50/50 blend of both, and the vinegar blend should fill about half the jar and cover everything completely.
Coriander Seed, aka Cilantro seeds. Not necessary for the recipe, and they can be a little tough to find in some areas, but these really add a good spice to the jar.
Bay Leaf, just a couple to add a little aroma and savoriness.
Pepper Corn, the more different colors you have the better. Black, red, pink, white, or green and add around 1-2 full Tablespoons.
Mustard Seed, also around a Tablespoon
Star Anise, use a few, they are a great garnish but also I like the flavor these add to the whole picture.
Let everything come to room temperature, and refrigerate. These are good for weeks, and really highlight any meal with their vibrant color and flavor.
This dressing is great on all salad. It has strong citrus notes and its base is olive oil so it goes well on more than just salad. I may use it with a pasta soon with a few extras.
Lemon Oil Dressing
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, roughly around 4 ounces in a food processor.
Whole Lemons, zest the entire outside of the lemon then slice remove the seeds and juice. Place the zest and juice into your food processor.
Roasted Garlic, I used my simple Kitchen Shortcut method for this and made a whole clove.
Fresh Thyme, up to you how you want to use and if you don’t have fresh herbs just double the amount for dried thyme.
Parmeiano-Reggiano Cheese, I had some left over Parm crisps I made to garnish my Mayura Wagyu steak so I used them.
Puree everything in the processor and add more olive oil if it is too thick. This keeps for weeks and is super delicious on basically anything you would put olive oil on. Add a few Tablespoons of honey into it if your lemons were too sour.