Well, if you haven't seen a quinoa recipe lately, you must be living under a rock. In recent months/years, quinoa's popularity has grown because of its superfood status. It's a personal favorite of mine because it is kind of a protein/carb combo, and I'm always looking for meat-free protein options.
For the first two years of my cooking blog, I selected a country, researched it, and blogged many popular and traditional dishes and ingredients (see the links on the right side of my blog for countries completed). When I chose Bolivia one week, I read about the history of quinoa. Here's what I wrote in my blog 2 years ago, "For this week's country challenge, I decided to go back to South America. What struck me most were the number of recipes using Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), a grain native from the Andes. The Incas spread the use of Quinoa all over South America. Quinoa is naturally bitter, and must be rinsed many times. It declined in popularity in the nineteenth centry due to widespread belief that it was killing pigs owned by peasants. They stopped growing it, and it almost disappeared. Recently, I have seen quinoa appear in many cooking magazines and shows because of it's health benefits. The dishes I have chosen for Bolivia all use quinoa in one form or another, showing it's versatility."
So when I saw this recipe on Erin's Food Files, I immediately starred it and put it on the menu. I knew my husband would love it because of the avocado and raisins, and I love dried apricots and cumin. The recipe was intriguing, many big flavors and seeminly random ingredients, but they paired so well and this dish was delicious.
Lemon Cumin Quinoa with Avocado, Raisins and Apricots
3 tbsp. raisins
3 tbsp. dried apricots, thinly sliced
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
1 large lemon
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. sweet paprika
1 medium firm-ripe avocado pitted, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 medium scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
3 tbsp. toasted sliced almonds
Freshly ground black pepper
In a medium bowl, soak the raisins and apricots in hot water for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
In a 2-quart saucepan, bring 2 cups water, the quinoa, and 1/2 tsp. salt to a boil over high heat.
Cover, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is translucent and tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
Fluff the quinoa with a fork and turn it out onto a baking sheet to cool to room temperature.
Finnely grate the zest from the lemon and then squeeze 1 tbsp. juice. in a small bowl, whisk the lemon zest and juice with the olive oil, coriander, cumin, paprika, and 1/4 tsp. salt.
In a large bowl, toss the vinaigrette with the quinoa, raisins, apricots, avocado, scallions, and almonds.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.