One of the things that I love most about quinoa is its texture. Somehow it has just the right amount of chewiness to give it some real substance, yet it still finds a way to cook up with a nice, fluffy consistency. Not only does quinoa have a tantalizing texture, but it is a great source of protein and fiber. The only downside of this wholesome grain is that it can come across as somewhat bland. I often try different add-ins to boost the flavor and sometimes it works out for the better and sometimes not. This quinoa and sugar snap pea salad definitely worked out for the better!
1/2 lb (8 oz.) sugar snap peas
1 onion, diced
1 1/2 cups of quinoa, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup plus 1-2 Tbls. extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbls. white wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds
In a small saucepan of boiling water, simmer the peas until bright green and crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Drain and spread out on a large plate to cool, then pat dry with a paper towel. Cut the peas diagonally into 1-inch pieces.
In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat until all of the water has evaporated and the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Uncover and fluff the quinoa, then transfer to a large bowl and let cool.
While quinoa is cooling, sauté onion in 1-2 Tbls. olive oil until onion is soft. In a bowl, whisk together the 1/4 cup oil and 3 Tbls. vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Add the peas, onion, and sunflower seeds to the cooled quinoa. Pour the oil and vinegar mixture over the quinoa mixture and stir. Serve at room temperature or lightly chilled.