26 April 2011

Potluck #1: Fresh Tomato and Quinoa Salad

Does anyone else feel like they are constantly going to potlucks, or is it just me? Now, don't get me wrong, I am not complaining at all. I love sharing food. In fact, if you ever want to make my day, the next time that we're at a restaurant together, just tell me that you'd like us to order two meals and split them. I will probably flip out, give you a huge hug and not let go, and continue to overreact out of sheer joy for the remainder of our meal. Don't ask me to explain, it's just the way I am. Tapas, finger foods, hord dourves (I never remember how to spell it...) hors d'oeuvres (copied and pasted from Google), potlucks...they are all my favorite kinds of meals. Maybe it's because I don't have to make a decision about what one thing to eat...

Shoot. Yep, that's it. Indecisiveness. The truth comes out. Let's not focus on my flaw, though, let's move on to the good stuff. Like, what I'm bringing to the next potluck. 

Quinoa. Someone told me the other day that they get nervous pronouncing this word when they're around me. I'm not really sure why that person is talking about quinoa so much around me, but gosh, I hope I'm not that scary. While we're on the subject, though, it's "keen-wah". It's from South America, it's high in protein and it's so hott right now. Quinoa is the new rice. I love mixing it with all kinds of veggies and beans to make delicious salads and sides. The colorful one above is super easy to make. Here's how: 

First, before you cook quinoa, make sure that you soak or rinse it thoroughly. There's a natural coating on it called saponin that can give some people a stomachache. Most packaged quinoa sold in the States has already been soaked to remove the saponin, but rinsing it off again before cooking is still helpful. Then, cook quinoa according to package directions, but substitute vegetable or chicken broth for half of the water. Add a bit of olive oil and salt, too. Quinoa, like most grains, is a little bland on its own, but prepared with broth, oil and salt it turns out moist and flavorful. Next, add tomatoes, bell peppers, fresh cilantro, sauteed onions, lemon or lime juice, olive oil and sea salt. Toss it together. So fresh and pretty looking!

For the next few posts, I'll share some other easy sides and salads that I like to bring to potlucks. Now, for your reading enjoyment, here's a list of synonyms for the word "potluck" (none of which I suggest using in place of the word "potluck"): spread, Jacob's join, Jacob's supper, faith supper, covered dish supper, bring and share, pitch-in, carry-in, bring-a-plate, smorgasbord, dish-to-pass...


  1. I'm a huge potluck fan and have several in the next few weeks so keep the recipes coming!!

  2. ---one more synonym for potluck, probably from our years in Arkansas---dinner-on-the-ground!!!

  3. I love how recipes can be building blocks to create similar but unique combinations. For example, this recipe inspired me to make a salad with my Isreali couscous that I picked up forever ago from TJs and haven't done anything with yet. I used it to create a salad with tomatoes, corn, sauted onion, basil, and feta cheese (w/ olive oil, sea salt and pepper). It was fresh and delicious. Thanks Miranda! I'm looking forward to more potluck ideas; it's definitely that time of year!