Autumn glory in the high bed gardens (photo by my husband)
Even if we have the quinoa salad very often in summer it is a basic you can serve every day – as a main or as primer when you are very hungry or you have guests and you need something that everyone will love. It is easy to make, tastes enormously delicious, especially when served with Sauce Medici. And there are many variations concerning the vegetables. Our favourites are tomatoes, red bell pepper, cucumber, onions, grains of maize and: loads of Sauce Medici. You can also take courgettes/zucchini, carrots, radishes, peas, broccoli. For my opinion the most important ingredient (besides quinoa) is tomatoes.
“Palle” are the five or six balls on the Medici coat of arms. Whatever their origin was – coins, pills, globes – the balls became inextricably tied to the Medici family and all they did. Their rallying cry in times of war was “Palle! Palle! Palle!” relating to the globes on the coat of arms. I can imagine it meant above all, “Go ahead and fire (palle = cannonballs)!”
Toast and stir quinoa in a pan for some 30 seconds, add water or broth, cook for about 1 minute. Cover (I never cover the whole pan, but about 80 – 90 %) and let simmer for 15 – 20 minutes. The quantity of water/broth and the cooking time depends on how fluffy you want to have the quinoa. We like it “al dente”, not too fluffy, so I let it cook for 15 minutes, put it aside and let it cool down for some minutes.
Cut onions, wash and cut vegetables finely (fresh and dried tomatoes, red bell pepper, cucumber and garlic) and put into a bowl. Add a handful corn and hempseed (at least 1 – 2 Tbsp).
Prepare a vinaigrette, using the freshly squeezed lemon juice, oil and balsamic vinegar (optional). Season with salt, pepper and chili flakes. Add to the salad and mix well.
Serve the salad in a bowl or on a plate, garnished with parsley and/or basil. As it is not attractive to take a photo from – and as I wanted to get “Palle!” (Medici balls) – I pressed the salad into cups and turned it. It comes easily out. To make it much more easier grease the cups before. I can promise it even works if you do not grease it.