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August 1, 2012

Featured Recipe from Chef Feenie’s New Book – Quinoa Salad

In his new book, Rob Feenie’s Casual Classics, Cactus Club Cafe Chef – Rob Feenie – showcases his favourite casual recipes to cook for family and friends. Chef Feenie has already redefined casual dining at our restaurants, and now you can redefine your cooking at home with this book. Starting Tuesday, August 7th, for a limited time, you can purchase an autographed copy of the book with a bonus recipe at any Cactus Club Cafe location.

Check back weekly for more recipes from Rob’s new cook book, Casual Classics.

Below is a recipe for Quinoa,Green Bean and Tomato salad  – just one of the delicious and easy recipes you can expect from Rob’s new cookbook:

One of my favourite grains right now is quinoa. It is one of the most complete proteins on the planet and can work well on its own, in a salad or with other proteins. The key is to give it flavour, which we have done here with the lemon juice, capers, bell peppers and tomatoes. Thoroughly washing the quinoa before cooking it eliminates any bitterness. Use white or red quinoa or a mix of both.

Vary this salad by using a grilled pepper in place of the fresh bell pepper, and when fresh tomatoes are not in season, try oven-dried tomatoes instead. Use the same quantity of roasted or raw vegetables. Serve this salad at room temperature for a vegan lunch or heat it up and serve it as a side dish with poultry, quail or barbequed salmon. Serves 4 to 6Chef Feenie


1 cup quinoa, washed well and drained

1½ cups water

¾ lb fresh green beans, in 1-inch pieces

½ lb very ripe Roma tomatoes (3 to 4)

1 bell pepper (any colour), in 1-inch dice

2 Tbsp capers, rinsed

4 green onions, in ½-inch slices

½ cup roughly chopped fresh basil

¾ tsp salt

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

3 Tbsp toasted pecans


Combine quinoa and the 1½ cups water in a medium pot and bring to a simmer on medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until all the liquid is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside.

Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil on high heat, add green beans and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until barely tender. Remove from the heat and drain green beans in a colander. Place the colander in the ice water to preserve the beans’ bright green colour and stop them from cooking further.

Using a sharp knife, cut tomatoes in half and gently squeeze out and discard the seeds. (it is not necessary to remove the skins for this recipe.) Cut tomatoes in ½-inch dice.

In a large bowl, combine quinoa, green beans, tomatoes, bell peppers, capers, green onions and basil. Season with salt, olive oil and lemon juice, and sprinkle with pecans. Will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

In Casual Classics, Rob Feenie hits the nail on the head; the recipes and the stories are the perfect building blocks to delightful and delicious family means. Letting the ingredients shine is the best advice of all. – Mario Batali