Country-style quinoa salad with sweet corn and peas [Vegetarian]
A comfort food all the way, this delicious dish highlights healthy quoinoa, the sweetness of summer corn and peas, and the cheesy goodness of Parmesan. It is a country-style salad that is a welcome side at any summertime picnic, barbeque or dinner.
The original recipe called for fregola. Kelly's version of the recipe calls for couscous. I changed it once again, preferring quinoa. Really, any of these will work quite well, so it only depends on your preferences. That goes, too, for your cheese preference. Though this recipe calls for Parmesan, there are many cheeses that would work well, from Gouda to provolone to feta.
If you want a vegan version, simply leave the cheese out. While it won't have the same thickness of texture that the cheese provides as it binds the ingredients together, it will still be wonderfully delicious and fresh tasting.
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This recipe is actually for something called fregola, which was new to me. It is apparently, "tiny, toothsome balls of pasta". Given that I'm at the cottage, I was reasonably certain that fregola would not be on offer at my local general store. But, of course, couscous is tiny, toothsome balls of pasta as well, and that was easy to find. This is a lovely little recipe that cooks quickly and is very nice light dinner for a warm summer evening. The recipe says that you can use frozen peas if you don't have any corn, but I had both fresh corn and fresh peas, so I added them both to the pot. I didn't have any scallions, but I did have some garlic scapes, so I used them. This was also quite tasty the next day for lunch served as a salad.
This recipe is adapted from The New York Times, August 9, 2011.
Couscous with Corn and Peas
1 cup water
1 cup couscous
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups sweet corn kernels or frozen peas
1 cup sliced scallions
1 cup hot vegetable stock
3 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese, or as needed
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1. In a medium pot, bring water to a boil. Add couscous and stir into water. Cover and remove from heat.
2. Place a sauté pan over medium-high heat, and add oil, corn and/or peas, scallions, and vegetable stock. Cook at a lively simmer, stirring occasionally, until the corn or peas are cooked and the broth is reduced by about half, about 3 minutes.
3. Remove from heat, and add quinoa (or couscous or fregola) and Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano. The mixture should be gooey like macaroni and cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. This can be served hot or cold, but it has the richest flavor while hot.