Friday, May 25, 2012

Southwest Quinoa Salad

I like quinoa sometimes, but not all the time. I've tried to make it in different ways and I have to admit that I'm not always a fan of the finished product. Most of my family members have apprehensions about it so sometimes I'm left eating my creation by myself. This time, however, the whole family seemed to enjoy the quinoa salad I put together. It was also great because the salad took almost no time to make. Normally I use cous cous or orzo for cold salads like this, but I wanted to try making it with quinoa and seeing if I still liked the taste.

Part of the reason why I don't always enjoy quinoa is because of its slightly nutty taste. I don't know what about in particular bothers me, I just know that it's too strong sometimes. Therefore in most of my quinoa recipes I look for ways to mask the nutty taste, or at least make it less overwhelming. I think the reason why this salad was successful was because I used heat and flavorful spices like cumin and coriander which took over the nutty taste. In any case, I'm glad that I found a new combination to use with quinoa because it's considered a super grain and I would love to include it more in my diet.

Southwest Quinoa Salad
  • 2 cups chicken stock (can substitute with water)
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped finely
  • 1/2 medium-sized red onion, chopped finely
  • 1 12 oz (341 mL) can whole corn kernels, drained and rinsed
  • 1 19 0z (540 mL) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1-2 tsp cumin
  • 1-2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil
  1. Bring the chicken stock or water to a boil. Stir in the quinoa, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook for 15 minutes or until the quinoa grains have white rings around them and all of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, chop the pepper, onion, and cilantro. Drain and rinse the corn and beans.
  3. Combine the quinoa with the pepper, onion, corn, and beans. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Adjust cumin, coriander, and red chili flakes to personal preference and add to the salad. Mix well to ensure even coating with all of the spices.
  4. Gently stir in the cilantro until evenly incorporated and adjust seasonings if necessary.
  5. Cover the salad and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes so that the flavors may blend together.

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