For the Miquon Spring Fair, a request for a grain salad was made to compliment kebobs and other tasty foods and Earth’s Elements delivered. During the final preparation phase, I was convinced by my in-house taste testers, my kids, to make an additional batch for dinner and I couldn’t resist.
Although quinoa is actually a high protein seed, it is oftentimes used as a grain and is a great alternative to rice and couscous. As mentioned in a previous blog, quinoa is an ancient healing food. It is a gluten-free, low fat, high fiber and complete protein addition to any meal. Over the years I have learned to create many simple dishes with quinoa and use a staple of ingredients to create a variety of dishes. It’s a healthy way to conserve and recycle.
A close runner-up to my favorite coconut oil, is sesame seed oil. Sesame seeds are one of the oldest condiments highly valued for their oil, which contains protein, essential omega fatty acids and phytosterols, plant compounds that resemble cholesterol, with highest concentrations found in vegetable oils. Anyone who has eaten Asian food can attest to the light nuttiness of this fragrant oil. As a parent to powerful antioxidants, when added to food, sesame seed oil can reduce cholesterol levels, enhance the immune system, reduce blood pressure and even help combat cancer. Due to sesame seed oils’ high vitamin E and B content, it is amazing topically for the skin and is used in skin care products, massage as well on gums as a way to reduce gum disease-causing bacteria. It is a anti-viral, anti-inflammatory gift that activates cell growth regulation and duplication. It can feed your skin from the inside out while working its “open sesame” magic. An ancient Buddhist maxim, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear” is first exemplified in the plant kingdom as is the case with sesame seeds whose bursts pods burst open upon maturity. So…as nature is our greatest teacher, “when the fruit is ready, they will announce”.
With a subtle nutty flavor of its own, quinoa soaks in the flavor of sesame seed oil and lime juice and the result is just heavenly. This salad includes a balance of live and cooked foods. Cooked quinoa is fluffy if done right and the addition of lightly blanched string beans and carrots give it texture, variety, and color. The remaining ingredients are free of the flame such as, chopped raw onions, garlic, red peppers, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, freshly squeezed lime juice and of course… sesame seed oil. And there you have it… a nutty protein-rich spring salad that will keep you grounded yet flowing freely. Enjoy!