This Citrus Quinoa Salad is a deliciously healthy side that you will crave time and again. It can be made ahead, making it perfect for meal prep.
This is a sponsored conversation brought to you by Epicurious. All opinions are my own.
There are some things I never order in a restaurant.
One of them is quinoa.
After two cookbooks and some 800 quinoa recipes to my credit, the appeal just isn’t there.
When I’m eating out I want something special. When you eat as much quinoa as I do, it becomes more staple and less special.
There is one place I make an exception and that is George’s at Alys Beach simply because they know how to make something I eat so often feel special.
As part to the Epicurious series “Personal Touches in the Kitchen”, I was asked to share with you an experience I’ve had as a diner that transformed the way that I do things in the kitchen.
Immediately George’s came to mind.
George’s is a cozy restaurant across the street from the beach in the upscale community of Alys Beach, Florida. It is neither pretentious nor fancy, but rather the comfortable kind of place you find yourself going to again and again.
The recipes were crafted with love by the original owners, Ann and George Hartley. One of the most interesting things about the menu is that it is divided into a Behave section and a Misbehave section. No matter what your mood or dietary restriction, it is easy to find something delicious at George’s.
When we are in the area, we try to make it in for lunch at least once a week. When the weather is nice, I love sitting outside on the front porch or in the courtyard. Afterwards, we will take a stroll to the beach.
The service is exceptional, and when in residence Ann always took the time to stop by an chat. The personal service, casual atmosphere and exceptional food make George’s a stand out in an area known for its many great restaurants.
I have to confess that I actually tried the quinoa by accident, when my husband suggested we split the Dab Salad as an appetizer.
I had never heard of such a salad - which is a long plate with a dab of each of the day’s chalkboard salads - and couldn’t resist.
I didn’t know it would become an obsession of mine.
There is something wonderful about a plate filled with so many different textures tastes. Everything from hummus, to tomato salad, potato salad, pickled cucumbers and more. I’d never before thought to make so many different salads and enjoy them all together, but since we’ve been going to George’s, this has become my favorite way to eat. (Though admittedly, I typically go with just three or four different salads at home for the sake of simplicity.)
I was shocked to find that one of my favorite parts of the Dab Salad is the Citrus Quinoa Salad with Rice. One bite and I knew I had to get the recipe to share with you. When I asked for the recipe, Ann, with her typical warmth, ran to the kitchen to make a copy for me. We had spoken many times, but that day I learned about the chef that inspired her and her husband (Yotam Ottolenghi) and about the story behind the restaurants logo. I found myself getting a bit inspired too.
I love everything about this recipe. The bright notes of the citrus, the bite of the arugula garnish and the texture of the pistachios. It does make a lot, so if you are cooking for one you might want to consider making a half recipe.
The original recipe called for Bhutanese red rice, which I wasn’t able to find. I settled on black rice instead. I would have loved to have used the dried apricots that the recipe called for, but again I wasn’t able to find them. I found dried mango to be a lovely substitute.
Learn more about how exceptional dining experiences and personal touches transform the way we do things in the kitchen on Bon Appetit’s Out of the Kitchen Series.
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Citrus Quinoa Salad
Rice & Quinoa Citrus Salad
- 2 cups red rice or black
- 2 cups red quinoa rinsed
- 1 medium sweet yellow onion chopped
- 1 clove garlic crushed and chopped
- 1 lemon zest and juice
- 1 lime zest and juice
- 1 orange zest and juice
- 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 cup dried apricots or mango roughly chop
- 1 cup pistachios roughly chopped
- 1 bunch green onions sliced on the bias
- Baby arugula for garnish
- Bring two pots of salted water to a boil. Add rice to one and quinoa to the other. Cook quinoa for 12 minutes, until tender. Cook rice according to package directions. Drain water and transfer to sheet pans to cool.
- Meanwhile, sauté yellow onion over medium high heat for 8 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook another 20 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- In a blender combine lemon juice, lime juice, orange juice, rice wine vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper. Process until smooth.
- In a large bowl combine apricots or mango, pistachios, rice, quinoa and onions. Toss with desired amount of dressing. (Note: The dressing will seem excessive at first. As the salad sits it really soaks it up and you will want to have extra on hand to re-toss.) Garnish with arugula and serve.