Quinoa is definitely one of the most popular new-kids-on-the-block when it comes to super foods that are versatile, nutritious, and easy to prepare. The first time I used quinoa, I spent hours (unnecessarily) checking each tiny seed, and then cooked the poor thing into a gelatinous mound that lay ignored in the fridge all Pesach. My good friend Marcy Kalnitz reintroduced quinoa into my life by teaching me the trick to fabulous, fluffy quinoa: Ignore the package instructions, and use only one and a half cups water per cup of quinoa. Marcy also shared with me an incredible recipe which I change-up depending on the other foods I’m serving. The recipe below is extremely flexible — you can use other nuts, diced mandarins, or even turn the salad into a Greek-style dish by adding black olives and feta cheese. Leftovers will stay fresh for several days and makes a great light lunch, so go big with the amounts. And if you’re a decent dressing maker, don’t bother measuring all those liquids and spices — just toss and taste, season some more, and taste again. By the time you’re done with all the tasting you’ll have eaten lunch. That’s what they call multitasking. Or taking care of yourself. Both are good.
Combine quinoa and water in medium-sized pot. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low. Allow to cook, covered, for about 20 minutes or until water is evaporated. Don’t worry if some of it gets overdone — it just gives the salad a nice toasted flavor.
Add dried cranberries, nuts, scallions, chopped pepper, beans, and parsley.
Combine dressing ingredients in a cruet and shake well, then pour over salad.
Quinoa tends to really eat up dressing, so double or triple this one and use extras for a tossed salad later in the week.