Say Hello to your New Best Friend: Quinoa

As many of you know, I recently celebrated my 25th birthday, which was great.  I was able to enjoy a lot of my favorite things, including a whole chocolate Bundt cake from Corner Bakery.  If you’ve never tasted it, I’d recommending staying as far away as possible, for once that decadent, rich, chocolaty goodness reaches your lips, you’ll never be satisfied with regular chocolate cake ever again.  However, to offset the fatty, sugary goodness of the cake, my friend made a delicious, fresh tasting Mexican quinoa salad.  So I snagged the recipe to share it with y’all to make and enjoy.  It makes a lot, like, a lot.  So half, or even quarter it if you’re just cooking for one or two people.

Before I divulge the recipe, let me tell you a little bit about the miracle grain that is quinoa (Keen-wah).  It’s perhaps the easiest of all grains to make, prepare, and digest.  It has the same protein level as a glass of milk. It has high levels of B vitamins, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, and vitamin E.  It’s GLUTEN-FREE which means if you or anyone in your family suffers from Celiac disease, this little guy is a great alternative.  It’s ideal endurance food. So if you’re training for a race load up on the stuff; it’s a power food that packs a punch: will keep you nice and full, longer than pastas will.  And it’s a great source of fiber. 

Something to note: when preparing quinoa be sure to rinse before cooking.  Quinoa produces an outer toxic coat (to protect it) that gives it a somewhat bitter flavor.  You’ll be able to tell it’s sufficiently washed when there are no more soapy-like bubbles streaming off of the grain.  Most grains produce a toxic coat, so it’s always best to wash your grains before preparing.  With that being said, here is the tasty recipe:

 MEXICAN QUINOA SALAD

  • 2 cups uncooked quinoa & 2 cans chicken broth
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 c. sliced green onion
  • 1/2 c. frozen corn (thawed)
  • zest from 2 limes
  • 1/2 c. queso fresco or jack cheese

DRESSING:

  • 3-4 limes (for juice)
  • 1/4 c. white wine or rice vinegar
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 c. cilantro
  • 1 Avocado (optional)

Cook quinoa according to package directions, using the 2 can of chicken broth as a substitute for water. (You may need to add water to make enough liquids to the recipe, just  like with rice. For every cup of quinoa, you add 2 cups liquid) Let quinoa cool in fridge (for at least 1hour) Once cooled, in large bowl, add quinoa and salad ingredients together.

In blender, add ingredients for the dressing and pulse until mixed together.  Pour over salad.  Refrigerate for 1+ hours and serve. Add extra cilantro, avocado, and lime wedges as a garnish.

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