Friday, May 13, 2011

Chilled Quinoa Salad

Quinoa (KEEN-wah) is an ancient Inca crop typically thought of as a grain. However it is the seed of a leafy plant related to Beets, Spinach, or Chard. It has a fluffy texture and a nutty taste. It is a great high protein option, and a perfect substitute for rice.It is also Gluten Free. Quinoa is becoming ever more popular for its versatility in cooking. It can be used to create everything from breakfast porridge's to tasty chilled salads. I have experimented with it to various results, and find this chilled Quinoa Salad based on one I had from PCC Natural Market to be my favorite. Quinoa’s nutty yet subtle flavor lends itself as a great pallet for flavor experimentation in your kitchen. It can be found in most “health” stores in the bulk aisle, and in many traditional markets next to the rice and couscous options. The options for this protein packed seed are endless. 


Chilled Quinoa Salad
Serves 4-8 

1/2 to 1 cup quinoa, cooked.
red, yellow, & green bell peppers-diced, about a quarter cup each
green onions-chopped, to taste
corn kernels, 1/4 cup
pinto beans-cooked and chilled, 1/4 cup
10-20 halved cherry tomatos
garlic, cumin, oregano, sea salt, pepper, adobo powder, paprika, fresh cilantro, to taste
lemon or lime juice to taste
olive oil

Quinoa is cooked just like rice. 2 parts boiling water to 1 part quinoa and a little olive oil. Generally 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water. This will go a long way, so if this is just for one to two people I would start with 1/2 cup quinoa to 1 cup water.

Once quinoa is cooked, place into fridge to cool. Once cooled add spices and veggies and combine. Add lemon or lime juice to taste. Add olive oil until the salad is moist, start with 1 to 2 tablespoons and add as needed. Place in fridge to chill until serving. The quinoa may absorb the citrus juice and olive oil while it chills and may need on or both added before serving.

           Mix well and chill. A great side dish or light lunch option.