Our garden is starting to wither, prompting me to glean the last, straggling edibles before the cold sets in. I planted dill late this year, and it did magnificently. Then, of course, I failed to use it even once, despite the fact that all last winter I kept wishing for some fresh sprigs. How ironic. Today, as Ryan yanked dead vines from the ground, I decided I better get with it and sample some before it was too late. I gathered up the last of the cucumbers and some tomatoes, and headed inside.
The result was like a shot of summer in my mouth. Bright lemon accentuates the dill, and the crunch of the cucumbers adds a nice variety to the softer textures of the quinoa and tomatoes. This is quite a bit like Tabbouleh, but the dill adds a nice change from the more bitter parsley traditionally used in that dish. I also like the quinoa, both for the taste and the punch of protein.
Perhaps best of all, this comes together in 20 or 30 minutes, most of which is cooking time for the quinoa.
Serving Suggestions: This would be great with falafel. For a simple, summer meal, pair with a crusty bread and fresh fruit or corn on the cob.
Special Diets and Allergies: vegan, wheat free, nut free.
Quinoa Dill Salad
Serves 4 as a small side
Nutty quinoa and sparkling lemon combine with garlic and fresh vegetables in this summer salad. The mild flavor of the dill adds a lovely note and tones down the spiciness of the garlic. Use pickling cucumbers if at all possible here, as they are more flavorful and less watery than regular, garden cucumbers, which have thicker, dark-green skins. If you must use the later, peel the skins and remove the seeds, which are much larger and harder than those in the small pickling varieties. Roma tomatoes work well here as they have little juice, but cherry tomatoes would also be nice. If using another variety, you might want to remove some of the seeds and juice so the salad doesn’t get overly soggy. The quinoa can be cooked ahead of time and then used in the salad once it is cooled or while it is still warm. I think it’s best at room temperature.
3/4 C quinoa
1 1/3 C water
Salt to taste
3-4 pickling cucumbers, washed and chopped into 1/4 to 1/2″ dice
3-4 Roma tomatoes, chopped
2 T minced red onion
1 1/2 T fresh dill, minced
1 1/2 T olive oil
1 T lemon juice
1/8 t salt
1 large garlic clove, minced
- Place the quinoa in a saucepan and toast, over medium-high heat, until the quinoa begins to brown slightly and give off a nutty aroma, 3-4 minutes.
- Add the water and salt, cover, raise heat to high, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Turn off the heat. Let sit for about 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
- Meanwhile, chop the vegetables and dill.
- Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together.
- Once the quinoa is done, spoon it into a salad bowl and add the cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, and dill. Swirl the dressing over the salad and toss to lightly coat the quinoa and vegetables in the garlicky oil.