As Winter so dutifully introduced itself to us here in the Northeast the day before the solstice with almost a foot of real snow in Boston (as opposed to the sprinkling earlier in the month), last week I found myself with a small surplus of Autumn fruit that I felt the need to use up. Persimmons and pomegranates nearing the end of their season beckoned to be used up before they perished. A potluck lunch for which I had committed to make a vegetarian protein main dish (what, no meat???) proved the perfect excuse.
Quinoa was to be the instrument, and if you may recall, I like mine well-dressed. Challenged to find a dressing that would incorporate the fruit without being sweet, I lucked upon a fabulous recipe that fit all my requirements and allowed me to test out some roasted walnut oil that I recently bought (wait until I tell you about the avocado oil I’ve been throwing on all my salads for weeks…)
Adapted from a recipe in the Seattle Times and serves 12-14 as a side dish. (Sorry folks, I just can’t think of quinoa as a main dish.)
- 2 C quinoa – I used a mix of red and white quinoa
- 4 C water
- 1 can (16.5 oz) chickpeas
- 2-3 persimmons (should be firm)
- 1 pomegranate
- 5 green onions
- 1/2 cup walnut pieces
- 1 T pomegranate concentrate
- 1 t Dijon mustard
- 1/4 C tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/3 C walnut oil (or olive oil)
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Prepare quinoa. Put 2 C quinoa, 1 tsp salt, and 4 C water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover pan and cook for 13 to 15 minutes, until water is absorbed. Fluff with fork. Turn off the heat and let the quinoa sit covered until it has cooled completely. Or just follow directions given with your quinoa (including whether it needs to be pre-rinsed).
Roast walnuts. Roast walnuts in a dry skillet over low heat until fragrant (<10 minutes) — watch carefully to prevent from burning.
Prepare remaining ingredients. Peel and dice persimmons. Remove seeds from pomegranate. Thinly slice the green onions.
Make dressing. Mix together pomegranate concentrate, mustard, and vinegar. Slowly whisk in the walnut oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Throw it all together. Once quinoa is cool, add chick peas (rinsed), walnuts, persimmons, pomegranate seeds, and green onion (reserving a few for garnish). Lightly toss with 1/2 dressing, adding more to taste.