Quinoa made it onto my recipe radar several years ago when I discovered I was gluten-intolerant. At first I just substituted it for couscous or rice, but it wasn't long before I realized it had so much more potential than that. Cooked properly, it fluffs up beautifully and doesn't clump and stick like rice or pasta, making it unnecessary to weigh it down with lubricating fats and oils. It's an absorbent grain with a very mild taste, making it the perfect vehicle for flavorful sauces and vinaigrettes. Combined with its high protein value, nutrient content and easy digestibility, this is one awesome little superfood.
One of my favorite uses for quinoa is a summer grain salad. It can be served warm or cold, and I often use whatever vegetables and greens I have on hand. I frequently make variations of this salad for health-conscious dinner guests, but this version always gets the best reviews. The salty-sweet eggplant pairs well with the refreshing crunch of corn and frisee, and the quinoa soaks up the tart lime vinaigrette, distributing a juicy citrus tang throughout the dish.