Quinoa for a Crowd

Recently a group of us hosted a luncheon to celebrate my good friend, Mary Stuart, and her baby that’s on the way.  On a steamy, summer day, it can be difficult to create a menu.  When it’s hot outside, we’re not looking to eat heavy, rich, foods.  Instead your food should be light and refreshing.  Also, this luncheon was not at my house, so I had to take transportation into account when planning.  I  didn’t want to be assembling my dish upon arrival, so my ‘quinoa for a crowd’ actually tastes better when made a day in advance.

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As the name implies, this recipe makes a lot of food, and I always make too much food when I’m playing host.  Leftovers are delicious and this quinoa makes for a great lunch during the week.  In our Atlanta group of friends, I’m not the only gluten-free eater, so we labeled the items for the luncheon that were gluten-free and kept them at the beginning of the buffet line, in order to best avoid contamination.

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Quinoa for a Crowd (Serves about 10-12)

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups quinoa
  • 5 cups vegetable broth (or water)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoons salt & ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 bag frozen, shelled edamame
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes

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Vinaigrette

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 table spoon white wine vinegar

Rinse and drain quinoa if package instructs you to.  (Some do and others don’t.)  I have a very fine strainer that I use for rinsing my quinoa.

Heat olive oil on medium heat.  Add quinoa and stir for a minute while cooking.  Add 1 cup broth and stir while the quinoa absorbs the liquid.  Once liquid is absorbed, add 3 more cups.  Lower heat to medium-low.  Let cook, stirring occasionally.  Add salt and pepper.  Add more liquid as needed.  You’ll know the quinoa is done because it will ‘pop.’  Not like popcorn, but you’ll see that the quinoa becomes bigger and there will be a little line in the middle of each grain.  It will take about 20 minutes for quinoa to cook.  (Unlike risotto, I think it’s hard to overcook quinoa.)

Remove quinoa from heat and let cool to room temperature.  Meanwhile, finely chop red onion.  Heat shelled edamame (according to cooking instructions on bag).  Drain and let cool.  Cut tomatoes in half.  Put onion, edamame and tomatoes into a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk lemon juice, honey, olive oil, white wine vinegar and Dijon mustard.  Taste.  Depending on how tart or sweet you like your food, add more honey and olive oil (for sweetness) or add more mustard or lemon juice (for tartness).  This is completely about your flavor preference.  I find that anytime I make a vinaigrette, I keep sampling it until I’m content with the flavors.  (Not very precise or scientific, I know!)

Once your quinoa has cooled, add the grain to your large bowl.  Mix with tomatoes, edamame, and onions.  Add your vinaigrette and toss.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  If your salad dries out a little, just add some more lemon juice or olive oil before serving.

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As I mentioned, this quinoa, is the gift that keeps on giving, so I brought the leftovers to a dinner that same night.  Still delicious.  And I ate it for lunch the next day.  And the next.

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Another highlight of the luncheon was the chicken salad that my friend Meredith made, using one of Emeril’s recipes.  I loved the cashew and apple combination.  Salty, sweet and tart, all in one.  Not too much mayo either.  You can see this naturally gluten-free recipe here.  (The only change Meredith made was omitting the parsley.)  Of course, thoughtful Meredith even remembered to bring gluten-free crackers for the chicken salad!

What do you like to make when cooking for a crowd?

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  1. Very good recipe…we are not super health nuts so i actually mixed half turkey and half chicken…soooo goood!

  1. [...] Quinoa goes well with edamame, red onions, and local cherry tomatoes… [...]

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