Archive for March, 2012

Kaniwa and avocado salad with orange balsamic vinaigrette

I don’t have the proper keyboard to spell this ingredient correctly (missing the squiggle over the n), but it’s a new one on the supergrain scene here in America. Like most “superfoods”, it’s actually been keeping people in other parts of the world healthy for quite a long time. It’s a lot like quinoa; they are apparently cousins. It’s smaller, though very similar to red quinoa in appearance. Nutritionally, it packs the same punch as quinoa in terms of protein content and vitamins and minerals. I also read today that it’s a good source of quercetin, which might explain why I finally decided to try his new food that’s been in my pantry for quite a while. I do happen to have a little sniffle and quercetin is a natural antihistamine. So, this just might come in handy as we move I to allergy season.

Anyway, we are doing a hot kaniwa cereal at the cafe this weekend, enjoying the unique texture which I’m told is similar to grits. On the savory side, mixed with creamy avocado and the crunch of shredded carrots and cabbage, plus a little bite of red onion and topped with an orange vinaigrette, it’s really a lovely and nutritious spring salad.

I like to soak all of my grains, so I had to strain my kaniwa with a very fine mesh strainer. This recipe is written for soaked grains. However, if you choose to cook without soaking, the benefit of this over quinoa is that it does not contain the bitter saponins and therefore does not elrequire rinsing from a taste perspective.

1 cup kaniwa, soaked overnight, drained, and rinsed
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 avocado, diced
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
1 small red onion, finely minced (another good source of quercetin, btw)

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup orange juice
1-2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon coconut sugar, optional
Pinch salt

Boil the water and add salt. Add the kaniwa, cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 7 minutes, stir, then remove from heat and leave covered for another 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, prepare the Avocado, vegetables, and dressing. Add cabbage, carrots, avocado, and red onion and stir to combine. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir well to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. Enjoy!

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