Sometimes we need more than just any ol’ salad, sometimes we need Quinoa and Brown Rice Salad with Pomegranate & Pignoli!
I have news!
Dom and I are the very new, very proud adoptive parents of (drum roll please) an olive tree in Italy!
Yep, an olive tree has our name. And yes, when I unwrapped the Christmas gift from the kids and opened the box that revealed that we’re the parents of an olive tree grown in the organic Il Fico Grove, situated near Alcamo on the Trapanese Coast of Sicily, I cried. Does that shock anyone? I didn’t think so.
I’ve been dying to share the big news and today is the day!
This salad is the perfect vehicle to showcase the olive oil that reigns from our tree. I keep telling Dom that we need to pay it a visit; it won’t be happening any time soon, but until we get there, if any one of you is planning a trip to Italy, let me know and I’ll give you its coordinates so that you can stop by, send our love, and help yourself to some olives. (That’s not really how a visit works but I’m sure we could arrange something!)
The thing I love about this Adopt An Olive Tree program is that it’s about supporting farmers, connecting people to the source of their food, as well as to teach about the process and techniques involved with the production of their delicious oil from pruning to harvest.
Here’s the thing about olive oil… It’s the oldest unadulterated food in the world. There are no chemicals or, as Nudo says, funny business, in the production of olive oil.
Some other interesting facts:
- When they crush olives, they use the whole fruit – stone included.
- Olive oil does not improve with age. Old olive oil = Bad olive oil.
- You cannot tell the quality of olive oil by how green it is.
So let me tell you a little bit about our precious oil. It smells of fresh cut grass and a bit of thistle, artichoke and green tomato. Its flavor is more fruity and bitter when compared to other olive oils, but leaves you with a fruity sensation and an aftertaste of almonds. How fabulous does that sound? It’s perfect for salads, fish, soups, grilled meats and sauces.
Speaking of salad…let’s get to it!
Toasted pignoli (pine nuts), pomegranate seeds, curly-leaf parsley (used mainly for texture), balsamic vinegar, (your favorite) olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt and cracked black pepper tossed with quinoa and brown rice then served warm…
That’s what I’m talkin’ about!
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 cup brown rice
- 3¾ cups water
- 1½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
- ¾ cup pignoli (pine nuts), toasted
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds
- 2 cups curly-leaf parsley, chopped
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- Juice from a lemon
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Place quinoa, rice, water and 1 tsp. salt into a heavy bottomed medium sauce pan.
- Heat to boil then cover tightly and lower heat to Low.
- Simmer until tender but toothsome, 35 - 40 minutes.
- Turn off heat; let stand covered for 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, toast pignoli on a baking sheet for 4 minutes in the oven. Remove and set aside.
- Put quinoa, rice, pignoli, pomegranate and parsley in a medium bowl.
- Add the olive oil, balsamic, lemon juice, ½ tsp. salt and pepper.
- Toss and serve warm.