Recently I have been craving cold summer salads of all kinds. While searching the pantry for ingredients for my next salad adventure, I found some quinoa (kēēn-wŏ). Originating in South America, quinoa is an edible seed that is used like a grain or cereal and is high in protein and fiber. I used to use this at The Peaks in Telluride in a roasted vegetable terrine. It was really yummy, full of roasted zucchini, yellow squash, red bell peppers, eggplant, and quinoa. We served it with a smoked tomato vinaigrette. That's sounding really good too, so I'll have to play with it and see if I can manage a recipe.


For today I knew I wanted a sweet and sour taste, so I made an easy vinaigrette with equal parts sugar and vinegar and then some olive oil. Since the quinoa and my chosen bean, black-eyed peas, cooked for the same amount of time, I just boiled and drained them together. Fresh basil leaves from the herb garden outside that I have managed not to kill, added a fresh summer bite. I tossed in a few other pantry ingredients and let it marinate for 3 hours. This was so good that we fought over who got to take the leftovers for lunch. I won!

Quinoa & Black-Eyed Pea Salad
Yield: 2 quarts
Serves: 12

1 cup quinoa (couscous, rice, or small pasta will work too)
1 small bag frozen black-eyed peas
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup sugar, brown sugar, honey, or granulated calorie-free sweetener
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
2 green onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, sliced
8 basil leaves, torn or chopped
2 tomatoes, diced
1 cup frozen or canned corn
¼ cup pimentos, drained

Boil the quinoa and peas together in 8 cups of boiling, salted water for about 20-30 minutes or until the peas and quinoa are tender; drain. In a large bowl, mix together the vinegar and sugar until dissolved. Add the rest of the ingredients, including the peas and quinoa, and toss to combine. Let set in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours but it tastes better if it sets overnight. If using couscous, rice, or pasta instead of the quinoa, cook it according to its specific directions, separately from the peas, and combine after they are cooked.
Quinoa before it's cooked.

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