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Red Quinoa Salad in Cucumber Cup

(Adapted from a Guy Fieri recipe)

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Transfer the quinoa salad to a large serving bowl, garnish with almonds and serve immediately or make into molds.
  5. 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.
  6. *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.