This complete meal in a bowl overflows with the antioxidant and anti-inflammation benefits of fresh vegetables and dried cranberries married to classic whole grains and the omega-3 goodness of chopped nuts. You can use quinoa or brown rice for this recipe, but my favorite is quick-cooking red quinoa, a traditional food of the Incas that offers as much complete protein as milk. This vegan salad is a huge hit with people of all ages, and itís become my favorite quick meal to make. Delightfully tasty, nourishing, and oh-so-healthy:
1 cup dried red quinoa, quinoa, or brown rice
2 cups water
Salt to taste
2 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
2 carrots, grated
1 beet, grated
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons plum vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or lemon juice
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
1. Bring salted water to a boil and add grain. Return to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cook until grain is tender and water is absorbed (about 50 minutes for brown rice, 25 minutes for quinoa, 20 minutes for red quinoa).
2. Place cooked grain in a medium salad bowl. Add scallions, carrots, beet, parsley, dried cranberries, and walnuts, tossing to combine.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, sesame oil, vinegar or lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over salad and mix to distribute evenly. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for a couple of hours.
By Cait Johnson, author of Witch in the Kitchen (Inner Traditions, 2001).