Quinoa, Sweet Peppers and Fig Salad

  • Yield 4 servings

Quinoa, a native South American grain, has a wonderfully fluffy texture that tastes nutty and sweet with a bite somewhere between couscous and brown rice.

Quentin Bacon

Quinoa's earthy flavor is enhanced with sweet figs and dried currants. The currants get softened in sherry first, so they become buttery and musky.


1 cup dry sherry
1/2 cup dried currants
1 cup quinoa
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh figs, stemmed and chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1/4 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1/4 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/4 yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup citrusy vinaigrette


  1. Pour the sherry into a medium bowl. Add the currants and set aside to rehydrate for 20 minutes. Drain the currants, discard any remaining sherry, and set the currants aside.
  2. Place the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse under cold running water. Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the quinoa and return to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the quinoa is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Scrape the quinoa into a large bowl and set aside to cool.
  3. Stir the scallions, figs, carrots, bell peppers, and cilantro into the cooled quinoa. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and stir gently to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days. The salad can be served cold or at room temperature.
Reprinted with permission for Lorena Garcia’s New Latin Classics: Fresh Ideas for Favorite Dishes (Ballantine Books, 2011).




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