Originally created 08/16/06

Plum quinoa salad packs taste and nutrition



Sometimes a salad is just a pleasingly refreshing salad. Sometimes it's a nicely worked out nutritional package, too.

For example, take this plum and quinoa salad. Plums are at their juicy best, but they and the other ingredients offer distinct health benefits.

-Plums are rich in antioxidants, and are a source of iron, potassium and vitamin E.

-Quinoa, once a staple of the ancient Incas, is now considered the "super grain" and a complete protein, because it provides all eight essential amino acids. It also has minerals, B vitamins and fiber.

-Flax seed oil contains essential fatty acids and B vitamins.

-Walnuts are "heart healthy" with high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.

So how does this good dish fit into your daily menus?

It would definitely make a great carryout item, for the backyard, beach or picnics, because it's delicious both chilled and at room temperature. The original intention was for use as a side dish, but by adding some grilled chicken, it could be a wonderful entree salad, too.

Plum and Quinoa Salad

(Preparation 20 minutes, cooking time 12 to 15 minutes, chilling time 1½ hours)

1¼ cups quinoa

2½ cups water

2 large ripe plums, pitted and diced

½ cup chopped, toasted walnuts

¼ cup chopped red bell pepper

¼ cup chopped yellow bell pepper

¼ cup sliced green onions

3 tablespoons flax oil

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup white wine vinegar

1½ tablespoons honey

¼ teaspoon salt

Rinse quinoa and drain well. Add to boiling water; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let chill for about 30 minutes. Stir together quinoa, plums, walnuts, peppers and onions in a medium bowl. Whisk together oils, vinegar, honey and salt in a small bowl and pour over salad; toss well to coat all ingredients with dressing. Cover and chill for 1 hour.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 370 cal., 23 g fat (2 g saturated), 0 g chol., 100 mg sodium, 36 g carbo., 4 g fiber, 8 g pro.