Friday, May 25, 2012

Toasted Quinoa, Corn and Avocado Salad

I knew I wanted some kind of tex-mex/southwest type of salad.  I love avocado, lime and cilantro (guacamole anyone?).  I really like black beans, but wanted to go another way with the salad.  I don't use quinoa regularly.  I've only experimented here and there so when I found this recipe I had to try it.

Quinoa is a great source of protein, and it's very filling.  We actually used this for our entree, and added a side of pasta salad and fresh veggies for dinner.  This recipe calls for rinsing and toasting the quinoa.  Some quinoa is packaged as pre-rinsed, but the the toasting process adds a nutty flavor.

This salad surprised us.  We didn't expect it to be as good as it was.  Kevin couldn't stop raving about it.  It was bright from the lime jalapeno dressing and we loved the pop of sweetness from the corn.

Toasted Quinoa, Corn and Avocado Salad
Adapted from Marie Simmons’ “Fresh & Fast Vegetarian” as seen on Ezra Pound Cake
Yield: 3 as a main dish or 6 as a side dish

1 cup quinoa
1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil

1 cup fresh corn kernels (from ~2 ears)
1 cup red peppers, diced
1/4 cup thin-sliced scallions (white and green parts)  (I used a bunch of chives)
1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Lime-Jalapeno Dressing:
2 tsp cumin
5 Tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
1/2 cup fresh lime juice, plus more to taste
1 Tbsp jalapeno, minced and seeded , plus more to taste
1 garlic clove, grated
1 tsp salt

Rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer under cold water for at least 45 seconds. Shake the strainer to remove as much water as possible.

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the rinsed quinoa and cook, stirring, over medium heat until it is light golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Add 2 cups water to the quinoa, and bring to a boil. Cook, covered, over medium-low heat until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is translucent and appears to be uncoiling, 18 to 20 minutes.
Let stand, uncovered, until cool, about 10 minutes.

To Make the Dressing: Sprinkle the cumin in a small skillet, and toast over medium heat, stirring, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. When the skillet is cool to the touch, add the oil, lime juice, jalapeño pepper, garlic and salt. Whisk to blend.

In a large bowl, add all the ingredients to a large bowl and toss to combine. Spoon the salad onto a large platter, and sprinkle the avocado and cilantro on top.

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  1. Looks delicious! I'm a quinoa fan. With the corn and avocado, I'm sold!

  2. Love quinoa! A teacher at my culinary school (a few years ago) told our class how he hated quinoa because he thought it tasted like dirt. I had a hard time respecting him the rest of my time there! I am always looking for new quinoa recipes! Thanks for posting!

    1. If I was a culinary school instructor, I think I would be embarrassed if I didn't like things.

  3. Just made this tonight and was trying to look if someone posted the recipe so I could share it with my friends. I've tried a similar recipe I found online before I got found this cookbook and this one is by far better than the other one I had found. The cookbook actually says 1 C chopped plum tomatoes where are this one says 1 C red peppers. I personaly love it with the tomatoes. And since my tongue is sensative to to much citrus I did a little over a 1/4C lime juice and watered the rest down. Never toasted my quinoa before cooking it before but I must say it brings out more of it's flavor Mmmmmm

    1. Thanks Krista! I'll have to try it sometime with the tomatoes (I had peppers that needed to be used). Other than the peppers instead of tomatoes, I also used only 1 cup of quinoa (vs. 1 1/2 cups). The original reason was because I ran out of quinoa, but I liked the ratio of ingredients that came out of it.

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