Unsure of breakfast, Lunch or Dinner? Try Quinoa Salad.

Maybe because I'm new to the whole idea of blogging, I don't know where to start. A recipe seems like the logical thing. As most people who know me would attest, I usually am obsessed with some kind of food and sometimes even get downright pushy about having you try something that I can't live without.

Such would be the case of Quinoa Salad.

Quinoa is one of the miracle grains. It is a complete protein, and has been cultivated for centuries in the Andes. I would say more, but click here to see what I would say had the information not already been compiled so neatly.

I have eaten Quinoa for a number of years, but just recently started noticing new varieties at my local food Co-Op. I recently tried the red and white mix shown above, although I didn't notice much flavor difference. I did enjoy the color contrast however.

My friend Ann gave me the book MOOSEWOOD RESTAURANT DAILY SPECIAL when I left the city to work at Gina's Pies are Square in Wilton, Wisconsin back in 2000. If I can't decide on a salad or need some inspiration on veg food, it is reliably my first grab on the shelf. Their recipe for Andean Quinoa and Corn Salad is a stable staple for me when I need lunches for the week or a side dish for the barbecue. Other than just eating it plain, (and you may see a recurring theme beginning here as I wrap most everything in a tortilla at some point...) it is great as a taco filling with cheese and/or eggs. Not to mention my non-health foodie husband will eat it too. The whole recipe makes a whole lot; I usually half everything if we don't have company.

Andean Quinoa & Corn Salad

serves 4-6

Grain Mixture:

  • 1 c. raw quinoa
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 t. paprika
  • 2 c. water
  • 1 t. salt

Salad Mixture:

  • 1 c. water
  • 2 c. fresh or frozen corn kernel
  • 2 T. olive or veg oil
  • 1 large onion finely chopped (about 2 c.)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 t. ground cumin
  • 1 t. ground coriander
  • 2 red and/or green bell peppers, seeded and diced (try poblano here for extra heat!)
  • 1 fresh chile, stemmed, seeded and minced
  • 2 T. fresh minced cilantro (LOTS more to taste...)
  • 1 large chopped tomato (I usually omit this in the winter)
  • 2 T. minced fresh parsley (I usually add more cilantro and skip this)
  • 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

In a sieve, rinse the quinoa under running water and drain. Heat oil in a saucepan, add the paprika and stir constantly for about 1 minute. Add the quinoa, water and salt - cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer 15-20 minutes, or until water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender but still chewy.

Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in another pot, and cook corn until tender, drain well and set aside in the fridge. Heat oil and saute onions, garlic, cumin and coriander until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in the bell peppers, chile and cilantro and saute another 3-5 minutes.

In a large serving bowl, combine cooked quinoa and sauteed veg and chill for 15 minutes. Stir in the corn, tomatoes, parsley (or MORE cilantro..) lemon juice, salt and pepper. Serve now or stash in the fridge for 4 or 5 days.

The moral of this post is this: if you are hungry, craving veg food and even mostly broke, you can make this salad in less time than it takes to watch Ugly Betty - and be all the healthier for it.