South American superfood quinoa has become a favorite in the U.S. in recent years and a trendy Passover side dish. Here’s how to add this superfood to your Passover dinner menu.
Quinoa: a Super Passover Side Dish
Did you know quinoa isn’t actually a grain? It belongs to a group of seeds also including amaranth and buckwheat known as a pseudocereals. Quinoa has been included in numerous superfood lists because of its nutrition. Also, Not only is quinoa kosher, but also extremely nutritious, containing more protein, calcium and iron than wheat. Quinoa is naturally gluten-free so it’s a good substitute for gluten-full grains in your Passover dinner menu so, if you have a food allergy in your family or friends joining you at your seder. Feel free to also leave off the almonds in this Passover side dish if there’s a nut allergy and swap in pumpkin seeds instead.
Rinse Your Quinoa
One thing that is important when preparing quinoa is to make sure to rinse it before cooking. That helps remove the outer coating, also known as saponin. That coating can make quinoa taste bitter or soapy, but the most important reason to rinse it off is that some people can be sensitive to saponins.
Layer Your Flavors
Here, earthy quinoa is combined with sweet figs and crunchy almonds – both foods that are especially symbolic in Jewish tradition making it a welcome Passover side dish. Cooking the quinoa in broth adds a layer of flavor. Then, mixing in mint, almonds, and our Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Dried Figs add another layer of flavor before the final flavor add-in, tossing the quinoa salad in dressing. The sweet-tart lemon honey vinaigrette is also kosher for Passover, and if you don’t have lemons handy, you can always substitute any other citrus juice or bottled lemon juice.
Spoon the fig and almond quinoa salad into a wide low bowl or pretty plate. Leftovers—if there are any will be even better the next day, once the dressing has infused its flavor even more into the salad. This is one elegant side dish worthy of a spot on your Seder table (or to make throughout the year too).
Passover Side Dish: Fig & Almond Quinoa Salad with Lemon Honey Vinaigrette
- 2 cups quinoa
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 1/2 cups dried figs
- 1 cup slivered almonds
- 1 bunch scallions
- 1 cup mint leaves
Lemon Honey Vinaigrette
- 2 lemons
- 3 tablespoons shallots
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Place quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse thoroughly with cold water.Drain.
- Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan until shimmering. Add drained quinoa and cook, stirring, until quinoa is dry and lightly toasted, about two minutes.
- Add water or broth and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low and cook quinoa, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat and keep covered an additional 5 minutes.
- While quinoa is cooking, make dressing: place lemon juice and zest,minced shallot, and honey in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
- While continuing to whisk, slowly pour in olive oil until dressing is emulsified. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Fluff cooked quinoa with a fork and transfer to a large bowl. Addressing to warm quinoa and toss to combine.
- Add figs, almonds, and scallions to the bowl with quinoa. Slice mint into ribbons and add it to the salad. Gently toss all the ingredients together. Taste and adjust seasoning adding more lemon juice or salt and pepper if needed.