Community Farm of Simsbury's Seasonal Quinoa Salad

Tracey Medeiros and Christy Colasurdo, authors of The Connecticut Farm Table Cookbook, were kind enough to share a summer recipe from their book with us. If you're not familiar with The Connecticut Farm to Table Cookbook, it has over 150 recipes from local Connecticut restaurants, farms and purveyors and we wrote about why we love it here.

Students at The Community Farm of Simsbury created this quinoa recipe during a summer camp program teaching entrepreneurship.  The challenge was for the students to create their own small business that sold a value-added product at a farmers’ market.

The Connecticut Farm Table Cookbook, a must buy for residents and non residents alike, can be purchased at Amazon, in local Barnes and Nobles, and at their many book signings throughout the state.
Photo by Oliver Parini

Photo by Oliver Parini

Seasonal Quinoa Salad

From The Community Farm of Simsbury in The Connecticut Farm Table Cookbook by coauthors Tracey Medeiros and Christy Colasurdo (The Countryman Press, June 1, 2015).

Serves 4 as a main dish or 6 to 8 as a side

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 1/4 cups water or vegetable broth
1 pound green beans, trimmed, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces 
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cups chopped fresh spinach, stems removed
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar 
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons raw hulled sunflower seeds 
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

Instructions

Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.  

Combine the quinoa and water in a medium-size saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.  Cover, lower the heat, and simmer until the quinoa is tender and the little tails are visible, about 15 minutes.  Uncover, fluff with a fork, and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a medium-size pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the green beans and cook until bright green and crisp-tender, about 4 minutes.  Drain the beans in a colander, transfer to the bowl of ice water and immerse, stirring occasionally, until completely cooled, about 4 minutes.  Drain in a colander, then pat dry with paper towels; set aside.

Melt the butter in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat.  Add the spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until just wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. When cool enough to handle, transfer the spinach to a paper towel and squeeze out any excess water.  Set aside.

Whisk together the oil and vinegar until well combined.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

Toast the sunflower seeds in a small, nonstick skillet over medium- high heat, stirring frequently, until the seeds are dry and fragrant, about 30 seconds.  

Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl and add the green beans, spinach, sunflower seeds, green onion, cilantro and parsley.  Stir in the oil mixture and toss to coat.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve at once.

Note:  This dish can be made ahead; just combine ingredients, then cover and refrigerate for up to 6 hours.  Drizzle with the oil mixture just before serving.