Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Southwest Quinoa Salad

post signatureMy friend's mom made this salad for 4th of July last year and I have been dying to make it ever since. The list of ingredients and steps intimidated me, but after a day off from work today, I decided to tackle it. I cant wait to have it for lunch in the days to come and, as you can see, even my 6-year-old loved it!

Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Black Beans

(I’ve had it with kidney beans, so I think you can substitute whatever you have)

1 tsp kosher salt
1 1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups red quinoa, rinsed well if not pre-rinsed (I used regular quinoa since I didn't have red)
1 15 1/2-oz can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 medium zucchini, trimmed and cut into small dice (1 1/3 cups)
1 cup halved grape or cherry tomatoes (I left these out b/c I don’t like them)
1 cup fresh corn kernels (from about 2 ears) microwaved or blanched for a few seconds
1 small (or 1/2 large) red bell pepper, seeded and cut into small dice (1/2 cup)
1/3 cup sliced scallions/green onions (white and light green parts)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus sprigs for garnish
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 Tbs plus 2 tsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp minced fresh garlic
2 tsp honey
1/4 tsp Asian chili-garlic paste
1/2 to 2/3 cup toasted pines nuts (I didn't toast them)

Combine 1 tsp salt, the cumin, coriander and cinnamon in a small bowl.

in a 3-quart saucepan, heat 1 Tbs of the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the salt-spice mixture, stir well, and cook for 30 seconds.

Add the quinoa, stir again, and add 2 cups water.

Bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer, cover and cook until the quinoa has absorbed all the water and the germ has separated from the seed, 20 to 22 minutes. (If there is a little water left, bring back to a simmer and cook for 3-4 minutes more to boil off the water)

Remove the pot from the heat and stir once.

Put a folded paper towel over the quinoa and cover with the pot lid again for 5 minutes.
Uncover, discard the paper towel, and transfer the quinoa to a large, shallow mixing bowl or a large baking sheet (where it will cool more quickly).

Let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, combine the black beans, zucchini, tomatoes, corn, peppers, scallions, chopped cilantro, orange juice the remaining 3 Tbs olive, lime juice, garlic, honey, chili-garlic paste, and 1/2 tsp salt.

Stir well and let sit while the quinoa cools, stirring occasionally

Combine the black bean salad with the cooled quinoa & mix thoroughly.

Taste & season as necessary (it will continue to build flavor as it sits)

Serve, garnished with the pine nuts and cilantro sprigs (if using) at room temperature or chilled, or refrigerate to serve at a cookout or potluck later.

It can be made up to a day ahead.

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