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This is one of those recipes that started with an idea and snowballed from there. I was reading Shauna Ahern’s post on Gluten Free Girl and the Chef about what salad meant during her childhood vs. what it means now, and was struck with the regional and generational similarities between her childhood idea of salad and mine. For her in California in the 70s, salad meant iceburg lettuce, tomatoes, croutons and Ranch dressing. For me in Ohio in the 80s, salad meant much the same – iceburg, crappy tomatoes, maybe some cucumber if you’re lucky, definitely some cheese, probably bacon bits, always croutons, and a big heaping helping of French or Catalina dressing.

Now, for the both of us (and it seems the nation as a whole, by and large), salad means much, much more. I eat some variation on a salad at least once a week for dinner and usually twice or more for lunch, and not even generally a lettuce-based variety.

I was also looking for a great quinoa main for the week and the vinaigrette sounded like an interesting new take on familiar ingredients. I stuck mainly to her ingredient suggestions for the ‘salad’ itself, subbing and adding as my pantry allowed. The vinaigrette I didn’t monkey with – over the years I have come to trust her vision regarding taste building (especially with sauces). I’m thinking about possible additions, but nothing is really resonating – I might add some smoke next time through cumin or chili powder because I’m on a smoke kick; but the vinaigrette is great without that note.

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Quinoa with Southern Greens & Eggs

1 c. quinoa
2 c. chicken, turkey or vegetable broth
3 c. mixed Southern greens (collards, turnip greens, mustard greens)
1/4 c. pine nuts
4 eggs
1/2 avocado
1/4 c. or so Carrot-Coriander Vinaigrette (see below)
Salt & pepper to taste

Rinse the quinoa and add to a medium pot with the stock. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and curlicues open up.

Add your eggs to a small to medium pot and cover with water (cover + 1 inch). Put over high heat and bring to a boil. Boil 1 minute, cover, and turn off the heat. Let sit 8 minutes. When the eggs are cool enough to deal with, peel and cut into quarters.

Wash, de-stem and chop your greens roughly. Bring a large pot of water about half full up to a boil. Add a palm of salt and the greens. Boil 5 minutes and drain.

In a small dry pan, toast the pine nuts until browned.

As your ingredients are ready (minus the eggs), add to a large bowl. When everything is there (minus the eggs and avocado), toss to combine. Chop the avocado and add to the bowl, along with the vinaigrette. Toss and taste for seasoning. Add more salt or dressing as needed. Spoon into a bowl and top with egg quarters.

Carrot-Coriander Vinaigrette

2 tsp. coriander seeds
2 c. carrot juice
1 medium shallot
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
3/4 c. olive oil
2 Tbsp. cilantro
Salt & pepper to taste

For instructions, see the original post from Gluten Free Girl and the Chef