Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Quinoa, Black Bean and Corn Salad

Eating healthy is a constant effort, especially with my family. We tend to get into ruts with foods that we like and then we start missing out on the nutrients that we need. In my search for something different that is high in protein and and has lots of flavor, I ran across quinoa. I've heard nothing but good things about quinoa (pronouced  [KEEN-wah]), but I had never tried it, let alone make it.

The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has officially declared that the year 2013 be recognized as "The International Year of the Quinoa." In comparison to cereal grasses like wheat, quinoa is higher in fat content and can provide valuable amounts of heart-healthy fats like monounsaturated fat (in the form of oleic acid). You can read more about quinoa here.

I found it to be easy to work with and quick to make. As for recipes, there are tons. Next time I think I will spice it up just a bit more. Ok, so the hubby wasn't thrilled with this one, but found it to be satisfying both in taste and quality and exceeding my dietary ambitions.

Quinoa, Black Bean and Corn Salad
2 cups vegetable (non-vegetarians can use chicken broth)
1 cup quinoa
1 can black beans
1 cup corn kernels
1 medium red pepped, seeded and chopped
4 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 cloves garlic, about 1 tsp minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 tbsp fresh lime juice
4 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

Bring the broth to a boil in a medium sauce pan over high heat. Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer under cold water and drain well IF NEEDED. Read the package instructions. I purchased organic quinoa that didn't require rinsing.  Add quinoa to the boiling water.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork and transfer to a large bowl.

Add the beans, corn, red pepper, green or red onions, cilantro, garlic, and spices to the quinoa.  Drizzle with lime juice and olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and combine all ingredients thoroughly.  Adjust seasonings to taste before serving.

Eat warm or cold and it tastes even better the next day as leftovers.

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