Ah – Spring! It is such a marvelous feeling to welcome a new season! For my children, they look forward to ditching the snow pants & boots and trading it all in for running shoes and t-shirts. They also eagerly search for the first robin sighting of the season. Why, you might ask, is a robin of such great importance to them? It isn’t that they are especially interested in ornithology although I happen to think it is a wonderful hobby! It is because they can earn themselves some spending money! It has been a long standing tradition in our family that Papa will reward the first sighting of a robin with a little cash. My father-in-law started it many years ago while he was a teacher. The first student to give a credible account of a robin sighting, would be given bragging rights for the year and a single quarter. Once the grandchildren starting entering our family, the offer was extended to them. Over the years, the rules have loosened a bit. Now it seems each grandchild that reports a sighting receives a little money and the amount has increased with inflation.
There really are so many things to look forward to this season. Being a nutritionist, I get especially excited about the new foods that will soon be available to us. I look forward to local asparagus, rhubarb and spinach. My garden space is still hiding under some snow, but soon I hope to see the garlic that I planted in the fall begin to poke through the ground. I am ready to embrace the lighter flavours of the season and tuck away some of my winter recipes.
One of the foods I’ve been enjoying again more recently is quinoa salad. Quinoa is considered a ‘super food,’ on many accounts. It is a complete plant protein, a great source of iron, B vitamins, magnesium, phosphorous, calcium, potassium and fibre. Quinoa cooks similarly to rice which makes it an easy dish to prepare on a busy night. An important thing to remember when working with quinoa is to soak it for about ten minutes before cooking. I simply put the quinoa in a fine strainer in a pot of water to soak. After about ten minutes, I rinse it well and add new water to the pot. Quinoa can taste a little bitter if you fail to do this step. We will often eat quinoa as a side dish to our meal. With the leftovers, I often make salad. Today I would like to share with you one of my favourite recipes for Greek Quinoa Salad. I have to admit though that no two dishes of salad are exactly the same at our house. With a little creativity, you can end up with all kinds of different flavours. I will often swap out lime juice for lemon or cilantro & ginger for the oregano. The options really are endless and delicious!
Greek Quinoa Salad
- 2 cups quinoa cooked
- 1 cup cucumber diced
- 1/2 cup celery diced
- 1 medium orange pepper diced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 1/4 cup olives slices
- 1 small lemon freshly squeezed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp oregano dried
- 1 cup feta cheese crumbled
- Precook quinoa and allow it to cool before adding the rest of the ingredients. Once cool, mix remaining ingredients with quinoa in a large bowl and allow flavours to blend for at least 30 minutes. The salad will then keep in the fridge for about 3 days. Enjoy!