Quinoa Fruit Salad

My mother introduced me to quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) a few years ago.  We mostly used it for savory dinner salads and I quickly became obsessed.  This “new” grain is becoming more common place and I love it.  When I have told people about quinoa for the first time they ask me what makes it different from all the other grains.  The two main differences are that it is gluten-free (happy dance) and nutrient rich.  I compared it to brown rice and quinoa has more protein and fiber, less carbohydrates and sodium and they are pretty even on calories.  I have most commonly seen quinoa used in salads, soups, side dishes or the base to a stir-fry or curry.  These pretty much all fall under the umbrella of savory dishes and I began to wonder what kind of quinoa dishes I could make for breakfast.  I decided to try a quinoa fruit salad.  My first attempt was… not bad, but I knew I could do better.  My second attempt was… better, but still not quite right.  Thanks to my ever-salt-and-sweet-ratio-conscious-husband I think I finally got it right the third time.  You will have to let me know what you think:-)

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I used an orange (or course), a peach, a banana and some strawberries as my fruit this time.  In the past I have also used blueberries, raspberries, apples and mango.  Really you can use whatever you like or whatever you have on hand. That said, I was pretty happy with this combination.

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I want to clarify that the strawberries do not have a glaze on them.  I only had frozen strawberries on hand and I had them at the perfect stage of thawing and then ran into some camera difficulties.  An hour later they looked like this:-)  While frozen strawberries definitely have their time and place, for this recipe I would use fresh ones.

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In order to get the sweet/salt ratio correct I did two things.  First I cooked my quinoa in chicken broth, not water.  I did water last time because it seemed weird to mix fruit with chicken broth.  What I discovered is that cooking it in the broth doesn’t give it a strong chicken flavor just enough flavor and sodium to balance with the fruit.  The second change I made was to use pistachio nuts instead of the sliced almonds I used on my first two tries.  The combination is a keeper:-)

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This is a great summer recipe.  We have some many wonderful fresh fruit options.  It is a heavier meal than a smoothie and is perfect for high activity days when your body needs that extra fuel.  So if you have a crazy day or a really intense workout planned, please treat your body to the nutrients it needs:-)

Quinoa Fruit Salad

1 C uncooked Quinoa

2 C Chicken broth

1 Orange

1 Banana

1 Peach

1 C Strawberries, sliced

1/2 C Pistachio nuts

Cinnamon and Agave to taste

  1. Bring the chicken broth to a boil.  Add in quinoa.  Once it returns to a boil place the burner on low and cover.  Let is simmer for 15- minutes or until all the liquid is gone.  Stir occasionally. Once it is cooked remove the pan from the burner and let it cool for a few minutes.
  2. Peel and cut up fruit into small bite-sized chunks.  Roughly chop pistachio nuts and set aside until the quinoa is ready.
  3. After the quinoa has cooled pour it into your serving bowl, add the fruit and pistachio nuts and then mix them together.
  4. You may add the cinnamon and agave to the entire dish or allow each person to add it to their bowl. (Remember you can always add more, but it is a lot harder to take it back if you add too much)

I decided to season the whole bowl.  I did a few dashes of cinnamon and a quick drizzling of agave and that was great for my family.

Enjoy!  Let me know how it goes!

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