This recipe was inspired by what I had at Canyon Ranch spa once. It is a versatile dish which can be served warm or cold as a satisfying vegetarian meal or as a savory side dish that is also sweet and tart. Any kind of quinoa can be used, but I personally prefer the more nutty and chewy red quinoa. You can use a mix of your favorite mushrooms or whatever you have in hand. I like using a mix of equal parts crimini, shitake and king oyster mushrooms. If you do no have pinenuts, toasted walnuts, pecans or almonds can be used instead. —mela_lala
Place the water, quinoa and 1/4 tsp of the salt together in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until all the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
While the quinoa is cooking, add olive oil and mushrooms to a sauté pan on medium high heat. Add 1/4 tsp of the salt and pepper to the mushrooms and saute until they are brown and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add shallots and garlic and cook for another 5 minute.
Turn off the heat on the sauté pan. Add the figs to the sauté pan and then add in the balsamic vinegar. Stir the mushroom fig mixture and let the residual heat from the pan reduce the balsamic vinegar. (Be careful not to inhale the vinegar while it is evaporating) Add the remaining 1/4 tsp salt to the mixture and stir to combine.
Combine the mushroom mixture and the quinoa. Add toasted pinenuts and stir to combine all the ingredients.