¾ cup quinoa
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 celery stalks with leaves, thinly sliced
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
¼ cup thinly sliced basil leaves
freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup slivered almonds
1. Place the quinoa in a strainer and rinse under cold running water for 2 minutes.
2. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 3/4 cups lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Stir in the quinoa and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the water is absorbed. Remove the pan from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and oil.
4. In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, celery, bell pepper, and basil. Add the dressing and toss well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the salad with the slivered almonds and serve warm or at room temperature.
Tip: Make a double batch. Cut pockets in bone-in chicken breasts, stuff with the salad, then roast.
Note: Don't skip the rinsing of the quinoa. The grains have a natural coating called saponin, which gives the quinoa a bitter flavor if not rinsed off.