I’ve been cooking for two people for about eight years now. I still struggle with making the appropriate amounts of things. Especially when it comes to pastas and grains. Jeff and I used to have a running joke about the amount of pasta I would end up making for two people. I never measured it, just dumped it into the pot until it looked like “enough.” Well, “enough” always ended up being approximately “way-too-much-we-don’t-even-have-enough-sauce-for-all-of-these-noodles.”
I’ve gotten better about pasta over the years, but only because I now have a small kitchen scale that I use to weigh out proper portions of dry pasta before cooking. Let’s just say I haven’t quite gotten there with grains. Grains recipes are generally written as a cup measurement of the grains-to-water ratio. Quinoa recipes are almost always written for 1 cup of dry quinoa (+ 2 cups of water).
Let’s just say that one cup of dried quinoa makes A LOT of cooked quinoa. As in, three cups. Which doesn’t sound like a lot, until you factor in how filling quinoa is. Then, three cups really is a lot. Needless to say, every time I try to make quinoa as a side dish for the two of us (and always forget to scale down the 1:2 quinoa:water ratio), I end up with leftovers that I must transform as new and unique lunches throughout the week.
For this quinoa salad, I opened my pantry and fridge and just threw all the good stuff I could find into a bowl with the leftover quinoa. Crunchy Granny Smith apples and celery, sweet juicy red grapes, rich pecan halves, tangy Gorgonzola cheese and a quick apple cider vinaigrette jazz up the leftover quinoa (or any grain) you might have on hand.
For the Apple Cider Vinaigrette:
- 1/4 cup apple cider or apple juice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Pinch of kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
For the Salad:
- 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
- 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and chopped
- 1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa
- 1/2 cup red grapes, halved
- 1/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
- 1/4 cup pecans