Quinoa Salad, anyone?

First off, I LOVE brown rice, don't get me wrong. It's the biggest number one staple in macrobiotic diets, next to miso soup. It's traditional, and completely nutritional, too. 

However, for a change, mostly in the summer time, I like to get more playful with other grains. Don't tell my main squeeze brown rice, I can't have it going around now! 

My favorite quinoa salad recipes usually include everything AND the kitchen sink. This one takes that on quite well.  Anytime there's a potluck, I am usually the one to contribute a grain dish, and this one gets big "wows!" from folks, because of the nice combinations of flavors and the pine nuts crunch to the sweet raisins give it a nice balance. 

Ingredients

2 cups of filtered water
1 cup of quinoa, rinsed and soaked (this helps the grains be more digestible) 
a pinch of sea salt (get your iodine!)
1 Tblsp of olive oil
1/2 cup of raisins
1/2 cup of toasted pine nuts
Basil leaves, sliced

Pour the water into a pot, then pour the quinoa into the water. Add the pinch of sea salt. Note: This does not mean a handful of sea salt and call that a pinch. A pinch is literally when you can wet the end of a chopstick, and whatever sticks to that, is the amount that can go in. Over-salting food is not the goal here, but we do need the minerals in the food to come out and make the grain more digestible and flavorful.
Next, add the raisins in. I like to cook the raisins or any dried fruit to make them rehydrated and juicy again. Bring the water to a boil.
If you haven't done so already, now is the time to toast your pine nuts. They should be a more golden color and start to have a wonderful aroma. It's not good to burn nuts so be gentle with them. Once they're done, turn off the burner and get the pine nuts out of the pan.
Once the water has boiled, turn the heat down and cook the quinoa completely for about 20 mins. Once all the water has evaporated, and the grain is fluffy but not clumpy, turn off the flame, add the olive oil, pine nuts, and basil and gently turn over the ingredients. Transfer to a large bowl, then serve warm. Serves 2 modestly.

Eat well and enjoy!