Quinoa salad with dates, pine nuts and fresh mint

Posted on Mar 19th 2013 by Chef DeJuan

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Mint is an herb for all seasons, whether used in a cool refreshing drink in the summer or a warm cup of tea when the weather turns a little chillier. Widely used since ancient times, it is currently used in manufactured products for its flavoring and aroma; it can also be found it many of the products we use on a daily basis. As an herb, mint’s leaves and flowers are used for flavoring food, medicine, cosmetics and perfumes.   Mint is native to most of the continents and includes varieties like spearmint and peppermint.   It is a hardy plant and it contains a number of vitamins and minerals and antioxidants.  Not only is it healthy for you, mint provides one of the most robust flavors in the kitchen.  I call it a go-to herb that creates a distinct taste and leaves one feeling refreshed and revitalized.   Here is one of my favorite recipes with mint.  It has a special bonus and features the hardy seeds of the Quinoa (pronounced "kinwa") plant.  The nutrient composition is very good compared with common cereals and grains since it offers a complete source of protein.  When cooked, quinoa has a light, fluffy texture and its mild, slightly nutty flavor makes it an alternative to rice or couscous. It is such a good source of nutrients that 2013 has been declared “The International Year of the Quinoa” by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Have fun with this recipe, it can be made in as little as 20 minutes.   Quinoa salad with dates, pine nuts and fresh mint   2 cups quinoa ¼ cup sliced dates ¼ cup toasted pinenuts ½ cup fresh chopped mint ¼ cup olive oil 1 small roma tomatoes diced ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice Salt and pepper to taste   Cook the quinoa in salted boiling water for 6 minutes or until tender. Strain and set aside. Mix olive oil with the lemon juice salt and pepper. Toast pine nuts in sauté pan until golden brown and add to the mix. Add remaining ingredients and chill for 15 minutes.  Enjoy!

Filed under: Healthy Living  

Chef DeJuan

Chef DeJuan Roy is a Food Network winning executive chef with over two decades of experience. DeJuan has presided over five-star kitchens, NFL catering services, and historic venues, most recently the Alhambra Dinner Theater in Jacksonville. He hopes to share his passion for fine dining and healthy eating since he firmly believes food nourishes body, mind and soul. He is married with two children and lives in historic Springfield in Jacksonville, Florida.

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