When I invite people to a party these days, the RSVPs usually come with a list of dietary restrictions. I want to make something that everyone can enjoy, whether it be vegetarian, gluten-free or dairy-free, and I’ve found that going vegan increases the likelihood of pleasing everyone.
I created this quinoa dish as a variation on a couscous or pasta salad, which both have gluten. Quinoa is a seed and some people don’t like it because it can be bitter. But if rinsed properly and cooked like rice, it is delicious and its high-protein content is a bonus. If you still don’t like it, you can substitute amaranth (for your Paleo friends), rice or a rice pasta.
I love the peppery quality of arugula in this pesto, but fresh basil works well, too. Can’t stand cilantro? Substitute parsley. Parmigiano-Reggiano is an option, too. It’s delicious, but this pesto has plenty of flavor without it. I use cherry tomatoes and corn during the summer, but feel free to add your favorite veggies, or substitute almonds or pine nuts, if you can’t eat walnuts.
With all the dietary restrictions around these days, a recipe like this one is incredibly versatile. It’s the kind of dish that celebrates everyone. Don’t be surprised if you get asked for the recipe!
Quinoa Salad With Arugula Pesto, Tomatoes and Corn
2 cups quinoa
2 cups water
1/3 cup walnut halves or pieces, toasted
1 large clove garlic
2 cups loosely packed arugula leaves, rinsed and dried
¼ cup cilantro, plus a sprig for garnish
1/3 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano, optional
1½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pint cherry tomatoes, stems…
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