The sun is allegedly set to make an appearance this long Memorial Day weekend and for *gasp* ALL of next week. I’ve become quite the Doubting Thomasina about this whole sunnywarmweather thing as we have certainly been robbed of our usually lovely spring this year. But when I poked my head out from under the covers this morning to find the blinding morning sun shining through my bedroom window (I really need to get that other set of curtains up before I get my own version of Lasik courtesy of the sun), I realized the good meteorologists of this city were actually right. In celebration of this most glorious event, I decided to break out some pineapple and make something sunny looking.
My dream dish was actually some Thai style curried pineapple fried rice; you know, the kind they serve in a giant pineapple with all sorts of yummy goodness garnishing the entrée. Alas, I did not have a whole pineapple, and I didn’t really feel like having fried rice again, as I’d just made some shrimp fried rice earlier this week. I remembered I had plenty of trusty quinoa in my cupboard and thought it would be fun to make a light salad with some sweet pineapple thrown in. That idea gave way to thoughts of curry which turned into a random curry vinaigrette dressing concoction, and a little while later, I had a lovely little quinoa salad to add to my ever-growing quinoa repertoire.
What I love about this dish – aside from the flavor and aesthetics, of course – is that it’s a true Bare Bones special. Now that I’m all caught up on rent, I’m trying to catch up on other bills before my current work assignment ends, so I’m working with the absolute last things I have in my kitchen until I can do another $25 Shopping Cart (which I’m hoping to do this weekend). Aside from the dressing, this salad only requires 4 ingredients, and they’re all things that I try to keep on-hand as often as possible. Having a well-stocked spice pantry allowed me to create a dressing that required very little effort but packed quite a flavor punch to tie these simple salad ingredients together. Just goes to show that a little creativity can go a long way, even when you’re only faced with 4 ingredients in your kitchen.
Pineapple Quinoa Salad with Sweet Curry Vinaigrette (makes 3-4 servings; total cost per serving:~ $1.40)
1 1/2 c pineapple tidbits
1/3 c diced red onion
1/4 c finely chopped cilantro
Sweet Curry Vinaigrette
3 T canola oil
2 T apple cider vinegar
2 T honey
2 1/2 t curry powder
1 clove garlic, crushed
Pinch of salt
Combine the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl and whisk together vigorously until completely combined. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the salad ingredients and toss together. Add about half of the dressing and fold together until well mixed. Check for flavor and add the rest of the dressing if needed (I found that the quinoa quickly absorbs the first part of the dressing, so you may want to use the entire amount). Serve on its own, as a picnic side or with fresh greens, garnish with extra cilantro, and enjoy!