A fresh tomato – such a treat! Two fresh tomatoes – absolute excitement. Both tomatoes were grown in a lovely little greenhouse here in McCarthy at the Wrangell Mountains Center, where Joe works. They are reaching the end of their season, which means all the plants have to be pulled up soon, which means all of the remaining produce must be enjoyed! So Joe picked a couple tomatoes, and I got to come up with a way to use them. Yay!!
A while back I’d seen a recipe for a quinoa salad that involved fresh tomatoes & mint, and it had intrigued me since. So, when I had some tomatoes to work with, and needed to make something that would make a good travel lunch while Joe & I drove to Chitina yesterday, such a salad was my first thought. I looked at a few different recipes online, and then made my own variety. My biggest inspiration came from a recipe over at White On Rice Couple.com (I tried linking to their site but it’s not working for me….); I love their dressing recipe – I only changed it a bit.
Don’t skimp on the mint – go for a full handful! I could’ve used a bit more in my salad, but was still happy with how the flavor came through. Adding more when we ate wasn’t an option, since I made the salad in the morning and then took it along for our drive, but it was still delicious! Our little trip to Chitina and back was brief and went smoothly; in Chitina we picked up Joe’s brother, Pat, and his girlfriend, Laura, who are up here from Ohio for a few days. It’s pretty fun getting to share this place with them – we’re headed into the backcountry again tomorrow!
Tomato Mint Salad
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
pinch sea salt
lil’ olive oil
3 Tbsp roasted almonds, chopped
2 tomatoes, diced
handful fresh mint, chopped
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp soy sauce
juice from 1/2 lemon
zest from 1/2 lemon, finely grated
1/2 tsp sea salt
Combine the quinoa, water, salt and olive oil in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until quinoa is done. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and then set aside to cool. (I cooked the quinoa the night before.)
To prepare dressing, simple mix all the ingredients together! For the best flavor, crush the garlic right in the bowl that you’re mixing in, and zest the lemon straight into the same bowl. I did this all in the same bowl I was going to mix the salad in. Kept dishes minimal! Whisk with a fork to combine.
Combine the quinoa, tomatoes, almonds, mint and dressing. Toss well. Garnish with more mint if desired.