Passover is coming up (it begins next Monday at sundown) and so we have been looking for good Passover recipes to share this week. Most Passover tables are completely free of grains and bread, of course, but those of you who miss your carbs over this holiday week might be surprised and pleased to hear that quinoa is actually kosher for Passover. Paula Shoyer, a chef and cookbook author, shared this surprising bit of news with us, as well as an absolutely delicious recipe for the Passover table: a sweet and crunchy quinoa salad.
Paula Shoyer is a pastry chef at Paula’s Parisian Pastries Cooking School in the Washington, D.C. area. She teaches classes in French pastry and Jewish cooking there and around the country. She is also the author of The Kosher Baker: 160 dairy-free desserts from traditional to trendy (Brandeis University Press, August 2010), as well as two Kosher cookbooks: Kosher by Design Entertains and Kosher by Design Kids in the Kitchen. (You can see her chocolate babka recipe here, from a guest post and interview last year.)
About this recipe Paula says, "For those of us who do not eat legumes in addition to grains during Passover, the news that quinoa is permissible during Passover was greeted by many as a huge victory. Quinoa is a great side dish that feels like couscous or bulghur. Quinoa is allowed because it is not considered one the five prohibited grains during Passover and it is believed to be related to the spinach and beet families."
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes, all around rhe same size
3 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/3 cup pine nuts
4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup dried cranberries
4 scallions, sliced
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Place the quinoa into a small saucepan and add 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes, or until the water is evaporated. Turn off the heat and let quinoa sit covered for at least one, hour or preferably, three hours.
Place the sweet potato cubes into a roasting pan and toss with 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil. Bake for 25 minutes, or until you can just pierce the cubes with a fork. Set aside.
Place the pine nuts into a small pan over medium heat until lightly toasted, stirring often. Set aside.
In a small bowl, place the remaining three tablespoons olive oil, vinegar, honey salt, pepper, cumin and cinnamon. Whisk well.
When the quinoa is dry, use a whisk to break apart the seeds and place into a large bowl. Add half the vinaigrette and mix with the whisk. Add more to taste, depending on how wet you like your quinoa; I add it all. Add the sweet potatoes, pine nuts, cranberries and scallions and mix gently. Serve at room temperature.
Paula Shoyer is the author of The Kosher Baker: 160 dairy-free desserts from traditional to trendy, (Brandeis 2010). Paula teaches cooking and baking classes in the Washington, DC area where she lives and all around the United States.
(Images: Paula Shoyer)