Friday, January 17, 2014

Quinoa Salad--Revisiting a Classic Recipe

My sister invited us over to dinner on Sunday, and I offered to bring a salad. I usually don't have lettuce on hand, so I figured I'd do a chopped salad. This is one of my favorite recipes, though it is mostly my own invention. It started with this recipe from 1994, when quinoa was such a mystery to the American table that you had to go to a health food store. But it has come a long way since then--each time I make the salad it evolves into something a bit different and delectable.
This is an awesome potluck dish--it is best made in advanced and served room temperature, and it is gluten free and can be made vegetarian or even vegan. It can be a full meal, or a side salad, if there are lots of dishes. When I make it for myself I add cooked chicken and cheese--but for this pot luck I'm going vegetarian, not vegan and adding a peppery cheese.


1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
1 can black beans
zucchini and summer squash
cherry tomatoes
red and yellow bell peppers
green and red onion chopped
1 can pickled jalapeno peppers
pepper jack or peppered cheese

2 limes
red wine vinegar
olive oil
salt and pepper
garlic--I used roasted garlic

Rinse the quinoa, and add to a sauce pan with the broth. Cook according to package directions--or until it blooms and the liquid is evaporated. Set aside to
cool. While the quinoa is cooking, drain the beans and rinse them. Pour a little of the liquid of the jalapeno and a little lime juice over the beans and set them aside.

Chop all the squash, bell peppers, avocado and cheese into similar sized pieces, and finely dice the onions. If the cherry tomatoes are pretty big, I'll cut them in half as well.

Once the quinoa has cooled, combine it with the beans, and all of the chopped ingredients. For the dressing, mix lime zest, lime juice, vinegar, oil, salt, pepper, cumin, cilantro, and garlic. I'd run it through my blender to get it smooth and then pour it over the rest. Serve room temperature, preferably after the salad has had time to marinate the flavors.
The Verdict: Load this salad down with as much chopped fresh veggies as you can imagine, and you have the perfect meal for me! I split this recipe in half--took half to my sister's house and added the last of the leftover turkey, more zucchini, more tomatoes, and more jalapenos to the other half. That made 4 full meals and a little extra. This is really summer in a bowl, and is something I make after the farmer's market--I guess when it is winter this salad makes me think of warmer days!

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