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by on October 14th, 2013

Red Quinoa Salad in Cucumber Cup

Beautiful healthy salad.

In a “celebration” of past Daring Cooks and Daring Bakers challenges, Lisa challenged all of us to search through the Daring Kitchen archives and pick any one we’d like! The REAL challenge was picking which delicious recipe(s) to try! 

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What is it about anything formed with a ring mold looks so much more appealing on a plate. I bought these ring molds in France and this is the first time I have used them. I actually got the idea to put this salad in a cucumber cup from a movie I was watching the day I made the salad. The movie was Pressure Cooker and about intercity kids in a culinary arts program in their school.

The last salad I made with quinoa was the Mediterranean  harvest Grain Salad. I really wanted more red quinoa to show up in the salad but it didn’t so here I am again trying to get a pretty reddish salad made with a healthy grain. I left out the jicama that Guy added and put in some avocado.

It’s fun playing around with food and trying to come up with new vessels to make something more interesting.  I play with food more now than I did when I was a kid, pushing things around my plate to look like I had eaten things I didn’t like.

Hope you will give this a try whether it’s this quinoa salad or even a simple potato salad would look great in this and you don’t have to have the ring molds, just use a tuna can.

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You can use red or white quinoa for this salad.

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Put the quinoa in a sieve and rinse several times before cooking.

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This is how the quinoa looks when it is cooked. It kind of splits open.

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After you have chopped everything up, put it in the bowl with the almonds and a little of the dressing.

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Gently stir in the quinoa and mix thoroughly adding more dressing if needed.

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Line the mold (or can) with thin slices of cucumbers overlapping half way.

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Pack the cucumber cup with the quinoa salad until it is full to the top. Garnish with almonds and cilantro leaves.

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Red Quinoa Salad in Cucumber Cup
(Adapted from a Guy Fieri recipe)

2/3 cup red quinoa
1 1/3 c. water
Juice of 2 limes
2 teaspoons agave nectar
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely minced
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 c. plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
1 avocado, small dice*
1 c. finely chopped tomatoes, any color
1 large navel orange segments, and cut in small pieces
1/2 c. cucumber, small dice
1/4 c. red onion, small dice
1/3 c. toasted, sliced almonds, plus more for garnish

Rinse the quinoa in a strainer several times with cold water. Bring 2/3 cups water to boil in a medium saucepot with a tightly fitted lid. Add the quinoa, cover and simmer until the grains display a thread-like spiral and the water is fully absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, undisturbed, for 5 minutes. Fluff with two forks and transfer to a large glass mixing bowl to cool. Set aside.

Combine the lime juice, agave nectar, jalapeno, garlic and cumin in a glass mixing bowl, whisking briskly. Drizzle in the oil slowly, continuing to whisk. Once the vinaigrette is smooth and slightly thickened, whisk in the 1/3 cup cilantro and the lime zest. Season with salt.

Place the tomatoes, oranges, onions, cucumbers, almonds and remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro in a medium mixing bowl. Pour in about half of the cilantro lime vinaigrette and gently toss. Fold into the quinoa and the avocado. Drizzle in the remaining vinaigrette, and toss to combine thoroughly. Season with salt.

Transfer the quinoa salad to a large serving bowl, garnish with almonds and serve immediately or make into molds.

To make molds, take very thin slices of cucumber and overlap into a ring mold. You can use a tuna can or other type can if you do not have ring molds. Fill the ring of the mold, overlapping about halfway between the cucumber. When you have the ring mold lined with cucumber slices, fill the center of the mold with the red quinoa salad and press a little to pack down. Garnish with some toasted almonds and serve.

*Avocado–I’ve said this many times before but when I use avocado any way I run it under water before putting in salad. It will help prevent it from turning brown. For this recipe I would cube the avocado, put it in a colander and then run under cold water. Drain and add to salad.

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