Tag Archives: paprika

Quinoa and Avocado Salad with Cumin-Paprika Vinaigrette

I’ve been trying to accept the fact that quinoa is the “in” grain of the moment. The most recent Bon Appetit even has a whole section devoted to quinoa salads, and quinoa is constantly on  my Pinterest feed, so I know the populace has caught on.

I suppose I initially resisted quinoa for the same reason I resisted tabbouleh – weird hippie food they sell at the natural foods store. But recipes like this, and my baked quinoa recipe, show how versatile this extremely healthy little food is.

Boiled until the grain pearls turn translucent and a delicate thread appears, you toss the quinoa with ripe chunks of avocado, plump golden raisins and currants, crisp scallions and a vinaigrette made of lemon, cumin, coriander, paprika and olive oil. For extra crunch, toasted chopped almonds are sprinkled on top.

I mean, wow, this was surprisingly good! And vegan … right? I made it on a week night and topped it with some leftover rotisserie chicken we happened to have in the fridge. Delicious! The creamy avocado, sweet fruit, hot bite of green onions and nutty crunch from the almonds … it’s really a winning combination. I encourage all of you to try it immediately.

Adapted from the amazing Cook Fresh magazine (best of Fine Cooking).

Quinoa and Avocado Salad with Cumin-Paprika Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

  • 3 T golden raisins
  • 2 T dried currants
  • 1 c. quinoa, rinsed
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 T EVOO
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp sweet paprika (not smoked)
  • 2 medium firm-ripe avocados, pitted, peeled and cut into medium chunks (do this at the last moment so they don’t turn brown)
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 3 T coarsely chopped toasted almonds
  • Black pepper

In a medium bowl, soak raisins and currants in hot water for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, in 2-quart saucepan, bring 2 c. water, quinoa and 1/2 tsp salt to boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer until water is absorbed and quinoa is translucent and tender, 10-15 min (the germ rings will remain chewy and white, like little squiggles). Immediately fluff quinoa with a fork and turn out on baking sheet to cool to room temperature.

Zest and juice the lemon into a small bowl and whisk in olive oil, spices and 1/4 tsp salt. In a large bowl, gently mix with avocado, then toss with quinoa, fruit, scallions and almonds.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and top with extra almonds and scallions, if you have them.

See? Easy! And so surprisingly flavorful. I shall be making this one again.

Enjoy friends! xoxo

Ravioli with Spicy Browned Butter and Sage Sauce

Costco’s sampling program is brilliant. Meet the 10 pounds of tilapia in my freezer, the giant box of frozen “pizza bites” and a 3-pound bag of spinach and ricotta ravioli that everybody in our house considers the D-list dinner.

This post is about how to make the best out of frozen ravioli. I’ve boiled it and then topped it with cheese, dredged it in bread crumbs and fried it, and now I’ve topped it with a spicy sage brown-butter sauce. This sauce is nutty and warm and a great twist for ravioli, tortilini and gnocci.

Sage is usually too strong for my taste, but the plant growing in our garden somehow isn’t as potent as that you buy in the store – even though the leaves are twice as big. Grant has also declared that he “loves” sage, so I always know a recipe will be a winner if I mention that sage was involved.

I adjusted this for two people and majorly reduced the salt – Giada’s original recipe must have fed a crowd because I found 1 1/2 tsp salt to be almost dish-ruining.

Ravioli with Spicy Browned Butter and Sage Sauce

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 16-18 large ravioli
  • 1/4 c. unsalted butter
  • 2 T chopped fresh sage
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • Parm-Reg cheese, or Romano

In large pot, boil ravioli in salted water until they float to the top – 5-7 min.

Meanwhile, melt butter in small saucepan and add sage, paprika and pepper flakes. Simmer until butter starts to turn brown – 2-3 min. Remove from heat and stir in salt.

To serve, drain ravioli and divide onto plates. Drizzle with browned butter sauce and top with extra fresh sage, if you have it, and shredded cheese.

There’s something really cool going on with the heat of the paprika and red pepper mixed with the sweetness of the butter and piney sage flavor moving through.

Tastes good with a cool glass of wine or a frosty beer, I must say.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo