A refreshing "Gem" of a salad for warm Summer days!
Prep & Cooking: 45-60 mins (includes cooling time)
Serves: 6-8 as a side dish, 3-4 as a main
¾ cup dry quinoa (this makes approximately 3 cups when cooked)
1 ½ cups water
1 large grapefruit, peeled, segmented and diced
1 large orange, peeled, segmented and diced– be sure zest your orange prior to cutting for the dressing
½ - ¾ cup pomegranate arils (seeds)
1/3 cup agave nectar – or light liquid sweetener of your choice
1 tbsp each of lime and orange zest
2 tbsp each lime and orange juice
2-4 tbsp chopped fresh mint
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint or whole mint leaves
Using a sieve, rinse the quinoa until water runs clear, this should take less than 1 minute. In a large pot, bring quinoa and water to a boil and reduce to low, covering and simmering for 15-20 minutes. As the photo below shows, the quinoa changes shape and expands significantly. All of the water should be absorbed and the quinoa should be soft enough to bite through with no crunch. Remove the quinoa from the pot and transfer to a shallow bowl to cool for a minimum of 20 minutes, the thinner you can spread the quinoa out, the faster it will cool.
While the quinoa is cooking, zest the orange and lime. To zest a citrus fruit means to remove a thin layer of the outer skin, this layer contains fragrant and flavourful oil and can be removed with a tool called a rasp, similar to a very fine grater. If you do not have a rasp you can carefully remove a thin layer of outer skin with a box grater or sharp knife, being carefully to not include too much of the white layer beneath the coloured skin, the white layer is called the pith and can be bitter. If you are removing the skin with a knife or grater chop it finely before adding it to the dressing.
Remove the skin from the grapefruit and orange, I find it easiest to cut it away rather than peel, slice the fruit and dice into small pieces. See included photo of an orange in the process of segmented. You will notice after the peel is removed that there are thin white lines between each segment of fruit, cut on the inside of these lines to avoid the tougher skin in between the segments. You will require 2 tbsp of orange juice for the dressing, these should be enough juice left in the remaining orange after segmenting for this purpose.
If you are using a whole pomegranate rather than packaged arils, I suggest removing the seeds from the fruit under water, don’t worry – no snorkel required. Cut the fruit in quarters (be careful! The juice stains!) and submerge the sections into a bowl of water. As best you can attempt to turn the sections inside out or simply break the pockets of seeds away from the skin. The seeds, or arils, will be released and sink to the bottom, while any of the white membrane holding the arils inside of the pomegranate float to the top and can be easily separated. If you are able to find the arils already prepared, you can use those too.
To prepare the dressing, you will need either a small bowl and a whisk or fork, or a jar with a secure, tight lid. Into your container of choice pour agave, lime juice, orange juice, zest and salt. Whisk together or shake a lidded container until all ingredients are incorporated. If the dressing seems too thick, add more fruit juice, too thin, add a touch more agave. After your dressing is the desired consistency, add the chopped fresh mint and whisk or shake to combine.
In a large bowl add quinoa, pomegranate arils along with orange and grapefruit pieces and stir to combine. Drizzle with dressing and gently toss to incorporate. Garnish with additional chopped mint or whole mint leaves.
Tips & Variations:
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