From Too Many Chefs -

April 12, 2006
Quinoa Caprese

There is literally nothing I like better right now for a healthy lunch or dinner course than a salad caprese. Take slices of a red ripe fragrant tomato, put fresh buffala mozarella and basil leaves between and hit it all with a shot of olive oil, salt, and pepper. If your mozarella is moist and fresh, and your tomatoes flavorful, it's very hard to beat.

Shape magazine this month publishes a recipe that extends the salad caprese into a more complete meal by adding quinoa and arugula. We subscribe to a couple of mainstream cooking magazines, but we also get recipes from The Redhead's fitness mags. Shape is one of the more reliable sources for healthy recipes that we're actually willing and eager to eat. No beet-loaf here.

I'm writing this one up, but The Redhead did all the cooking last night and those are obviously her and not my hands in the photo above. I've been under the weather and she's filled in for me making dinner a few times the last week or so, so I figure I can return the favor with the writeup.

We changed the recipe minimally, mostly to substitute vegetable for chicken stock. We didn't have garlic oil as called for in the Shape recipe (and I don't think most people do), so I've added how we made our own garlic oil.

This is a simple, quick, delicious, and nutritious light meal I think many of you will enjoy.

Quinoa Caprese from Shape, May 2006, original by Victoria Abbott Riccardi

1 cup quinoa
14 oz. vegetable stock
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
3 ounces fresh mozarella, diced.
1 cup torn basil leaves
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/4 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic
salt and pepper

arugula, with lemon and oil dressing for presentation

Rinse the quinoa thoroughly. In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to a boil. Add the quinoa, reduce heat and simmer about 12-15 minutes until the liquid is absorbed. The quinoa should be tender. transfer to a large bowl and toss/stir to help it cool down to room temperature.

Smash your garlic cloves, removing the papery outer peel. Heat the oil in a small skillet over low and add the garlic. Sautee over low heat, stirring occasionally for about five minutes. Strain the garlic out of the oil and let the oil cool.

Stir the cherry tomatoes, basil, and mozarella into the quinoa.

With a whisk or fork beat the lemon juice and oil together. Pour over the quinoa and toss well. Season to taste.

Serve over lemon and olive oil dressed arugula or baby spinach leaves.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at April 12, 2006 7:17 AM

this was delicious, definitely worth a try! i have more photos here and here.

Posted by paul on April 12, 2006 at 11:23 AM

Welcome back!

You have ripe tomatoes in Chicago?? All I can find here is pink watery things that are all on the verge of spoiling...ick...

Posted by Meg in Paris on April 12, 2006 at 11:27 AM

The cherry tomatoes at Trader Joe's have been pretty acceptable this year, and the Fruteria around the corner from us always has at least one type of tomato that smells at least a little like a tomato.

Posted by barrett on April 12, 2006 at 1:03 PM

With all these quinoa recipes, surely we can get some sponsorship cash from the Quinoa Growers of South America (or their lobbying arm--deep pockets). Want me to approach them with this idea?

Posted by Justin on April 12, 2006 at 2:01 PM

I see the Egg Board people got to you, too...

Justin, I'm shocked. We would NEVER take money from the Quinoa Growers of South America! And we most certainly would NOT take those bribes in budles of small denomination bills in small brown paper bags left behind the loose radiator in the train station on the 1st and 15th of every month.

I mean really.

Posted by barrett on April 12, 2006 at 2:37 PM

Oh, perfect! I've been wanting to try quinoa, I have a bag in my cupboard, but I've had no idea what to do with it. Now I know! :)

Posted by Anne on April 12, 2006 at 2:47 PM

Anne, if you do a search on the TMC site for quinoa, you'll come up with a bunch of good recipes. We've done a lot with it recently.

Posted by Justin on April 12, 2006 at 3:39 PM

Barrett, we made this tonight and enjoyed it greatly. Good one. By the way, you should totally snack on that fried garlic. Don't let that go to waste.

Posted by Justin on April 13, 2006 at 8:51 PM

Justin- very cool! I was just eyeing that quinoa fritter you did and thinking of trying to extend the recipe.

It would have been amusing if we'd done that on the same night!

Posted by barrett on April 13, 2006 at 10:07 PM

I will be making this soon. Looks delicious!

Posted by Jennifer on June 3, 2011 at 9:58 AM