Kañiwa Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Kaniwa Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Kañiwa (pronounced ka-nyi-wa), a relative to quinoa, is a super-seed native to the Andes in Peru. It’s an excellent source of protein and fiber, high in iron and of course, is gluten-free. Compared to quinoa, its much smaller in size, but still has the sweet nutty flavor with a delightful crunch.  It can be use in soups, casseroles, salads, used as a breakfast cereal with fresh fruit and chopped nuts or ground into flour.

You can find kañiwa in most health food stores or online at Amazon or Nuts.com. It’s a little more expensive than quinoa, but only by a couple of dollars. It’s another great alternative to rice and potatoes. And very easy to make. Two parts water to one part kañiwa, bring to a boil, simmer for 15 minutes covered and remove from heat and let rest for 5 more minutes.

This Kañiwa Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette makes an excellent summer side dish. Crunchy garden vegetables, soft crumbles of feta cheese seasoned with a simple balsamic vinaigrette. It’s delicious slightly warm or cold. I actually used the french green beans from my balcony garden in this dish.

Oh…the garden. Well, I had to battle white flies — which won and took the peppers, powdery mildew — which attempted to take the cucumbers, I’m still not sure if I’m winning that war yet and last, but not least caterpillars — the cabbage lopper to be specific — which I broke down and got insecticide for those little buggers. They ate all the leaves on my Brussels sprouts. It looks like its making a come back, but only time will tell. I just never thought I’d have this many issues with a second-floor balcony garden, I can’t imagine what would happen if I was actually on ground level — rabbits, deers and who knows what else. Next year, I’ll be better prepared on what to expect here in Colorado.

Kaniwa Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Kaniwa Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 - ½ cup servings
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ cup onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1 cup french green beans, cut in half
  • 1 cup zucchini, sliced and cut in half
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 1½ cups kaniwa, cooked*
  • ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette**
  1. In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat.
  2. Add onion, garlic, zucchini and beans to skillet and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Sautée for about 3-5 minutes, or until onions become translucent. Vegetables will be crunchy.
  4. Pour sautéed mixture into a medium bowl. Cool for about 10 minutes.
  5. Add cooked kaniwa, feta and balsamic vinaigrette and stir until combine.
  6. Serve.
*To cook kaniwa: Bring 1 cup water and ½ cup kaniwa to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, until most of the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let it sit for another 5 minutes to finish cooking.

**Homemade Vinaigrette Recipe: In a small bowl, whisk together the ¼ cup balsamic vinegar, ½ cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard and 1 tablespoon honey until combined. Store in refrigerator.

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