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Blueberry Quinoa Salad – Is It A Winner?

Blueberry Persimmon Quinoa Salad

The availability of blueberries year round is fast becoming another fantastic benefit of the global economy – and one that contributes to our health and well being considering the nutritional powerhouse that blueberries are. It’s because of the demand for this antioxidant-rich super food that North American highbush blueberry acreage has increased by +55% in the past five years and countries like Chile, with their counter-seasonal harvest, are boosting their blueberry production specifically for the U.S. market.

Blueberries

Why are we so crazy about blueberries?

1. Blueberries are naturally fat-free, and with just 42 calorie per half-cup they’re perfect as a snack on their own, or as a complement to sweet and savory foods of all kinds.

2. Fresh blueberries are high in vitamin C, fiber and potassium with more cancer-fighting antioxidants than either wine or green tea.

3. Blueberries have been show to reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers, and are natural anti-inflammatories. They also provide the same bacteria fighters as cranberries to help guard agains urinary tract infections.

4. Just one-half cup of blueberries helps meet the recommended 5-9 servings a day of colorful fruits and vegetables. {Source: U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council}

What more could you want?! If you’re not eating blueberries regularly, you need to hop on the blueberry train :)

 Blueberry Quinoa Salad with Persimmons

Earlier this month I was a happy diner at the Very Berry Thanksgiving feast hosted by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council and the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association. Hostess Erika Kerekes took the  traditional Thanksgiving dinner and gave each delicious dish a surprising blueberry twist and our group of 20 or so food bloggers enjoyed every bite while learning about what blueberries from Chile mean to us.

Most interesting to me was how Chile’s unique geography of natural barriers, known as a phytosanitary island, protects them from many of the pests and diseases that challenge farmers in growing regions elsewhere in the world making it a prime region for fruit production. Chile is also a world leader in safe agricultural and environmental practices and we can take comfort in knowing that Chilean fruit is grown to the highest U.S. government standards. The Chilean fresh fruit industry also ranks in the top 10 for GAP (GoodAgricultural Practices) standards established to ensure that food meets global standards for safety, nutrition and sustainability.

You’ll be able to find Chilean fruit in the markets from December until March, I was told. Plus, we were all excited to hear of the “Blueberries Meet Their Match” Blogger Recipe Contest that the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council is running this month. With prizes totally $10,000 – $2,000 for 1st place in each of the four categories and $500 for 2nd place in each category – of course, I had to take a shot at winning! The challenge is to start thinking about blueberries in new & unique ways during the winter months with winter fresh and frozen blueberries and experiment with different flavor pairings for blueberries. The four categories are: Balsamic, Coconut, Rosemary, and Banana.

The recipe I created is a healthy blueberry quinoa salad with a surprising flavor profile of sweet/savory/tart. Sweet, plump fresh blueberries and luscious fall persimmons are tossed with quinoa napped in a white balsamic vinaigrette bearing a subtle hint of savory rosemary and nutmeg. Besides all the nutritious benefits of blueberries, persimmons and quinoa – is vegan, gluten free and a breeze to make!

Blueberry Persimmon Quinoa Salad

Blueberry Persimmon Quinoa Salad with Rosemary Balsamic Vinaigrette

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 3-4 servings

Blueberry Persimmon Quinoa Salad with Rosemary Balsamic Vinaigrette

Sweet, plump fresh blueberries and luscious fall persimmons are tossed with quinoa napped in a white balsamic vinaigrette bearing a subtle hint of savory rosemary and nutmeg.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa, prepared according to package directions*
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable stock*
  • 2/3 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 Fuyu persimmon, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon agave or honey
  • 1/4 t. fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 Fuyu persimmon
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 4 butter lettuce leaves

Instructions

  1. Prepare the quinoa using vegetable stock according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, pepper, salt, rosemary and nutmeg.
  3. Fluff quinoa and transfer to a glass bowl. Add vinaigrette and toss. Gently fold in blueberries and persimmon. Serve warm or at room temperature with butter lettuce leaves.

Notes

Best served warm or at room temperature.

http://shescookin.com/2013/11/25/blueberry-quinoa-salad-is-it-a-winner/

 Blueberry Quinoa Salad with Persimmons

The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council represents blueberry growers and packers in North and South America who market their blueberries in the United States and work to promote the growth and well-being of the entire blueberry industry. The blueberry industry is committed to providing blueberries that are grown, harvested, packed and shipped in clean, safe environments. Learn more at www.littlebluedynamos.com.

 

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5 Responses to “Blueberry Quinoa Salad – Is It A Winner?”

  1. Ally's Kitchen
    November 25 at 12:33 pm #

    I love the flavors going on here, Priscilla! Blueberries just make me sing!! And, I entered that blueberry contest, too! Fingers crossed we both win some $$!! xo

  2. sippitysup
    November 25 at 5:28 pm #

    “sweet/savory/tart” the phrase makes me smile as does this recipe. GREG

  3. ClinicalPosters.com (@ClinicalPosters)
    November 26 at 8:23 am #

    Berry interesting!!!

  4. Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious
    November 26 at 5:09 pm #

    Looks great to me! Persimmons and blueberries HAVE to be a flavor explosion!

  5. Kim Kelly - Liv Life (@LivLifeToo)
    December 1 at 12:06 pm #

    I’m loving everything about this salad!! Blueberries are a family favorite, and I just purchased persimmons from the market, though I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them. Like Dorothy said… a flavor explosion!

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