For this vegetable-bedecked grain salad, a garnish of crisped pecans and drizzles of your favorite herbed or mustard-flavored vinaigrette or other salad dressing transforms a drab dish into a sparkling entrée. Such a mild grain complements assertive ingredients, so feel free to experiment with other vegetable choices or even flavored tempeh or seasoned tofu. Toasted pita triangles and wedges of hot apple tart topped with ice cream or whipped cream make perfect partners for this meal.
- 1 cup pecans, toasted
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 heads Belgian endive, leaves separated and rinsed
- 2 cups artichoke hearts, halved or quartered
- 2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
Heat large skillet over medium, and dry-roast pecans, stirring continuously to prevent scorching, until fragrant and slightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Combine quinoa with 21/2 cups water in large saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking grains, stirring occasionally, until tender, for 15 to 20 minutes. Scoop quinoa into strainer, rinse under cold water, drain well and set aside.
Meanwhile, layer dinner plates with endive leaves. In separate mixing bowl, combine artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes and sliced shallots. When quinoa is cool, stir grain and vegetables together, and dress as desired, tossing to combine. Arrange mixture on endive leaves, garnish with toasted pecans and serve.
Somewhat bitter-tasting foods, such as the Belgian endive, plus toasted nuts and the nutty flavor of artichokes combined with a mild-flavored cooked grain gussie up nicely with a flavorful vinaigrette or dressing. Such a dish pairs well with a fine-tasting Sauvignon Blanc. Try the Jean Reverdy Sancerre Vignoble de la Reine Blanche.