Traveling is one of my greatest pleasures. Being somewhere unfamiliar really allows me to open myself up to new adventures and experiences I may not be willing to pursue at home. It’s mentally cleansing for me, and usually comes at necessary points in my life. However, it tends to wreak havoc on my body. The dehydration of flying, over-indulgence, and lack of regular exercise leave me feeling fatigued and unhealthy.
It’s always nice to come home and enjoy something light and refreshing to reset myself. To me, there’s nothing more refreshing than fresh citrus. Conveniently, it’s also citrus season, so I made a quinoa, blood orange and herb salad. Eating based on seasonality is so important. Not only are you enjoying produce when it’s the absolute best, you’re also doing a service to the environment. The seasonality of produce means that it is growing naturally at that time, which means less intervention by humans.
Citrus is my all time favorite winter ingredient. It brightens everything up, including your skin, especially during such a chilly, gray winter. While Cara Cara is my favorite for snacking, I prefer something a little less sweet for vinaigrettes or finishing. For the salad I chose blood oranges and lemons combined with a little rice wine vinegar. Herbs are also perfect for brightening dishes and adding flavor and nutrition at the same time.
Quinoa is one of my favorite grains to build meals on. It’s high in fiber, and contains all nine essential amino acids making it a complete protein. I tend to prefer red or black quinoa over white since it tends to hold their shape after cooking. White quinoa can get a little mushy.
Quinoa Salad with Winter Citrus, Walnuts and Herbs
1 cup Quinoa
2 cups Water
1/2 cup Castellvetrano Olives, chopped
3 Blood Oranges
2tbsp Olive Oil
1tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
3/4 cup Walnuts
Dill and Mint for garnish
Salt and Pepper to taste
- Combine quinoa and water in a pot and bring to a boil (make sure water is properly salted). Then turn down heat and let simmer for 15 minutes with a lid.
- While quinoa cooks, combine olives, segments from 1 blood orange, and walnuts in a large bowl.
- Once quinoa is cooked, fluff and let cool
- Add quinoa to the bowl with the olives, blood orange segments, 1/2 cup of walnuts and citrus vinaigrette. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
- Finish with torn mint and dill, juice from the other half of the lemon, 1/4 cup of walnuts and zest from 1 blood orange.
- Whisk together juice from 2 blood oranges, 1/2 a lemon, rice wine vinegar and olive oil.