We are big fans of quinoa, the "supergrain" (which is actually a seed) that's high in protein, iron, and fiber. It has a great fluffy texture and nutty taste, and cooks so quickly that we turn to it often for weeknight meals. However, plain quinoa can get a little monotonous, so we came up with a recipe to dress it up a little while taking advantage of the organic grapes we've been finding all over our farmers' market.
We use our favorite Kyoho grapes, which are similar to Concords, but anything sweet and seasonal will do. We also like grapes with seeds for their additional antioxidant benefits; however, we'd use a seedless variety if serving to guests who might not like the crunch and occasional bitterness of seeds.
Although it's super easy, this salad takes a bit longer to prepare than plain quinoa, as you have to wait for the quinoa to cool before adding the other ingredients. The quinoa can be made ahead of time and chilled (it's a great way to use leftover quinoa). Once assembled, the salad can be chilled, as well, and actually tastes best after the flavors have had some time to marry – at least 30 minutes and up to a day in the fridge.
Quinoa Salad with Grapes
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 cup grapes
2 teaspoons fresh marjoram
2 tablespoons verjus
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt
Rinse and drain quinoa in a fine strainer. Place quinoa and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until water is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy. Transfer quinoa to a bowl and cool at least to room temperature.
Toast almonds in a skillet until golden brown (watch them carefully and shake the pan; they will toast quickly!). Set aside to cool.
Cut grapes in half and coarsely chop the marjoram. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the verjus and grapeseed oil. Add salt and whisk to combine.
Once quinoa has cooled, add grapes, almonds, marjoram, and dressing. Toss to combine.
May be served at room temperature or chilled.
(Image: Gregory Han)