Tuesday, June 21, 2011

An Improvised Plate: Quinoa Salad

Ah, Summer.  It's too hot to turn on the oven and life is too busy to spend that much time making food anyway.  Here's a recipe for one of our simple go-to's when the weather gets hot!

Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup Quinoa, cooked, any color.  Trader Joe's only has white quinoa of late (they used to have red also), and recently we found some black quinoa at Roots market in Clarksville.
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can corn (or cooked corn on the cob if you have that kind of time), drained and rinsed
- Whatever veggies you like.  We use/have used the following: red onion, green onion, garlic, cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, avocado, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, pea shoots/broccoli sprouts/bean sprouts.
- A handful of fresh cilantro

Quinoa Salad Dressing
- 3-4 limes
- 1 Tbsp ground cumin
- honey, agave, or other sweetener of choice (nothing fake, please) to taste

Cook the quinoa just like you would rice - 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa.  Recently I made a double-batch of this stuff with 1 cup white and 1 cup black quinoa.  It will probably take 15-20 minutes to cook, so keep an eye on it and chop up your veggies.

The "dressing" here is the best part.  Squeeze your limes, use a juicer, or go with the Oprah method.  I'm a little embarrassed to say we use Oprah's way (about 1:30 in the video) since we do not have a juicer.  Be ready with a glass of water because the outside of a lime does NOT taste good!

Mix the lime juice with ground cumin and honey and continue adding honey until it's a little tangy but not too sweet.

When your quinoa is done, put all the veggies, corns, bean, and quinoa (it's okay if it is still hot) in a big bowl, dump the lime juice mixture over it and mix it all together as best you can.  Chop the fresh cilantro for garnish.

Here's part of our double-batch from the other day.  My favorite thing about this recipe is that you can improvise.  Use the veggies you have on hand, or whatever your local farmer's market is selling that day, and it will taste good.  If you love tomatoes as much as I do, throw in some extra (I do this in every recipe I've ever made).  If the crunch of a bell pepper gets you going - put them in!  Hate onions?  They're not necessary.  So enjoy this easy summer salad as a side dish or main course with your favorite flavors.

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