- 1 Cup quinoa, rinsed (any color)
- 1 Cup of chopped green beans (about one inch pieces) or about 2 Cups of whole green beans
- 1/3 cup raw pine nuts, lightly toasted
- 1 Cup raw chopped zucchini
- 1 Cup raw sliced fennel
- One big handful of mixed fresh herbs: chives, Thai or fresh basil, mint, parsley and oregano; lemon thyme would be nice too.
- 3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice;
- 2-3 T good quality extra virgin olive oil
- Good sea salt (like Maldon or Celtic) to taste, and black pepper, optionally.
Cook the quinoa like pasta, except with NO SALT! Put a large pot of water to boil, add the quinoa and stir occasionally for a total of 15 minutes, or until the little spirally white part separates from the seed.
Create an ice bath, (large bowl of ice water) for plunging the beans and grain into when finished.
Lightly toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet, paying careful attention so they don’t burn.
Throw the green beans into the quinoa water for the last 4 minutes, blanching the beans while the quinoa finishes. Then, when done, drain the mixture into the strainer and plunge into the ice bath (or just run cold water over) so that the green beans stay bright green.
While the grain mixture cools, chop the zucchini and fennel and dice up your big handful of fresh herbs.
Whisk the lemon juice and olive oil in the bottom of a large bowl and then pour the quinoa mixture into the bowl, tossing well to coat with dressing and then add the rest of the vegetables and herbs. Add the pine nuts once they’ve cooled. Add at least 1 teaspoon salt, (and then more or not) plus pepper to taste.
The fresh herbs really obviate the need for more zing in the dressing! If you have no fresh herbs, add some crushed red pepper and a teaspoon of Dijon mustard to the dressing.