Quinoa Salad in Endive Cups

by Kris on March 26, 2012

I’ve recently decided to remove all dairy products from my diet. My reasons are a little different than you may expect. I’ve suffered from inner ear issues for several years now, and have not only seen numerous doctors, but I’ve also tried many forms of medication. Nothing to date has helped this issue.

The other night I watched a documentary called Forks over Knives. It was an interesting documentary that discussed how animal based diets can be bad for your health. I’m a strong believer that any diet should contain many sources of nutrients. I also believe that you can lead a healthy lifestyle if you just practice moderation. A burger once a month probably won’t kill you, but one every night probably will.

The part that interested me the most in this documentary was an interview with a UFC fighter. He claimed to have had inner ear issues for years and after many misdiagnosis’s he discovered the cause was a dairy allergy. My ear is a constant distraction in my life, so I decided trying a dairy free diet couldn’t hurt.

I am currently on day four, and so far so good. It’s too early to tell if it is having an effect on my ear but since I’ve begun this experiment my symptoms aren’t nearly as bad as they’ve been in the past.

Cutting dairy out of my diet has also meant I’ve had to be a little more creative with my meals. This quinoa salad is a direct result of that. So many great fruits and vegetables are appearing at our farmer’s market, it’s just so easy to create exciting salads for dinner. This one combines some of my favorite flavors, and I love how they look served in endives. This would not only be great for a healthy meal, but also a great appetizer at your next party.

Do you have any tips on dairy free diets? Or do you, or someone you know, have a dairy allergy? I’d love to hear from you!

Quinoa Salad in Endive Cups

  • 1 cup asparagus, finely chopped
  • 3 Belgian endives, divided
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. pine nuts
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (tips on cooking quinoa below)
  • 1 Tbsp. poppy seeds
  • ¼ cup arugula, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup radishes, finely sliced
  • ¼ cup pear, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh dill

Preheat oven to 400.

In a medium bowl, combine chopped asparagus, one shredded endive, minced garlic, one tablespoon of lemon juice, and one tablespoon of olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer to a roasting pan or skillet and bake for 7-9 minutes until vegetables are tender. Let cool.

In the meantime, prepare the endive bowls by peeling the leaves off the remaining two Belgian endives. Place on a serving tray and set aside.

In a small skillet, toast pine nuts over medium high heat for 1-2 minutes, stirring often, until lightly browned. Set aside.

In a small bowl, create the dressing by combining remaining lemon juice and olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste.

In a large bowl toss together quinoa, poppy seeds, arugula, radishes, pear, dill, and roasted asparagus with the prepared dressing.

Place one to two tablespoons of the salad on the reserved endive leaves. Serve at room temperature, or refrigerate until cool.

Serves between 8-10 as an appetizer

How to Prepare Quinoa:

Cooking quinoa is quite simple and only has a few extra steps than preparing rice.

If you are using pre-rinsed quinoa, it will make your life a little easier. If not, for best results soak the quinoa for a minimum of 15 minutes. Using a fine sieve, rinse the quinoa for an additional 2-3 minutes prior to cooking. This removes a lot of bitterness from the grain.

For every 1 cup of quinoa, use 1 ¼ cup of liquid.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand an additional 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

To maintain the right consistency in leftover quinoa, it helps to let it cool completely before refrigerating. I often will make a large batch and use it throughout the week for breakfast, salads or even in baked goods. The method I find works the best for cooling large amounts of quinoa is to spread it evenly on a cookie sheet and leave on the counter for 30-35 minutes. I will then transfer it to a sealed container in the fridge.

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