A little inspiration goes a long way.. I'm still fresh from the awesome cooking demo that Amanda & Merrill did at Sur la table last week. Came back home, tried to replicate the recipe using spinach, but it just wasn't as awesome, but on the other hand, I had fallen head over heel in love with the texture & mouth feel of quinoa! (Until then, for the most part, I'd been grinding up the quinoa into a batter!)
There is no interesting story to tell here...this was an experimental dish keeping with this weeks theme, that the family completely fell in love with and will be a regular at my table. Beluga lentils pair perfectly with the quinoa because of their tiny size. I'd substitute with French Puy lentils if beluga lentils aren't available.
In a large saucepan, combine the water & salt & bring to a boil. Add the beluga lentils, cover & cook for 5 minutes. Add the Quinoa and lower the heat to medium. cover & allow to cook till all the water is absorbed (~ 15 minutes). once cooked, fluff the lentil quinoa mix with a fork.
Combine 1/2 a cup of toasted walnuts and about 15 torn sage leaves & coarsely mince in a food processor till they resemble coarse bread crumbs (albeit with a tantalizing aroma)
Add 1 tablespoon of butter in a small skillet and add the minced walnut/sage mixture. Saute till the bits of sage begin to wilt.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining walnuts (broken into small bits), Lemon juice & orange zest. Add the feta cheese, quinoa/lentil mix, the sauteed walnut/sage blend and fold to combine all the ingredients. Drizzle with the EVOO, taste and adjust for seasonings as per your preference.
Heat the remaining butter and add the remaining sage to it, sautee till the leaves crisp up and add the mix to the lentil quinoa pilaf as a garnish.