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Food 52’s Healthiest: Summer Quinoa Salad with Corn and Fresh Herbs

Photo: Antonia James for
Photo: Antonia James for

Every Tuesday, we scan Food 52′s delectable menu of recipes for the healthiest picks they’ve got—bringing you seasonal, scrumptious fare that’s really good for you.

Food52This week, we’re loving this summer quinoa salad. The mix of fresh herbs in this recipe gives it a mouth-watering quality, and it’s super healthy, too. Quinoa is high in protein and vitamins, is low in calories, promotes healthy digestion, and more. Heck, it’s the superfood of the year.

Summer Quinoa Salad with Corn and Fresh Herbs
Serves 4-6

1 medium bunch of parsley (about 30 sprigs), leaves removed and coarsely chopped
1 medium clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
Juice of one lemon
1 cup red quinoa, thoroughly rinsed
4-6 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
½ cup red wine vinegar + more to taste
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered, depending on their size
A big handful of basil leaves
1/3 cup good olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 medium or large ears of fresh corn, including the husks
1/2 cup feta, in small cubes

1. Put the crushed garlic and lemon juice in the bottom of a large bowl (the serving bowl, if you want).

2. Shuck the corn and blanch it in salted boiling water in a large stock pot for about two minutes. Remove – saving the hot cooking liquid — and set the corn aside until cool enough to handle.

3. When the corn is cool enough to handle, cut off the kernels. This is the way I do it: How to De-Kernel Corn. (Thanks, Kristen!) Put the kernels in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the salad. You want them to stay nice and crisp.

4. Put the cobs in the stock pot with the husks and parsley stems. When the stock is cooked, remove the husks and cobs, and then drain into a large container. At this point, you can cook it down at a boil to concentrate the flavor, or set aside whatever you don’t need for another batch of quinoa or, a favorite in my kitchen, use it when cooking black beans.

5. Measure two cups of corn stock into a medium, heavy saucepan. Add the rinsed quinoa with a small pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Simmer until the quinoa is cooked (when the tiny white rings pop out).

6. Immediately fold in the sliced scallions and fold in ¼ cup vinegar. Toss gently and set aside. Allow it to cool to room temperature or just a little warmer, stirring every so often.

7. Stack the basil leaves then tightly roll them lengthwise. Then, using a super sharp knife, cut paper-thin slices.

8. Remove the crushed garlic from the lemon juice and reserve the garlic for another use. Add the cooled quinoa, the chopped parsley and the corn kernels, and toss gently. Then drizzle on the olive oil and remaining vinegar, add the cherry tomatoes and sliced basil leaves, and gently toss again. If using feta, very gently fold it in.

9. Let the salad sit for at least ten minutes. Test for salt and correct. If the corn is very sweet, and you want a bit more acid, splash on some more vinegar.

10. Enjoy!! ;o)

11. N.B. This can easily be doubled. And don’t forget to freeze any leftover corn stock to use for future batches of quinoa.

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