I’ve kept my resolve this summer to include lots of salads and healthy foods in my meal planning. It isn’t difficult to do when I’m at a fantastic farmer’s market every Saturday and have access to a great selection of fresh fruits and vegetables. My usual salads are simple and include fresh greens, tomatoes, avocado and whatever else I happen to have in the fridge, but every so often I crave something hearty with lots of flavor. When I was in Chicago visiting my daughter last summer we purchased a scrumptious quinoa salad and some pickled shrimp at Fox & Obel and I vowed to try to recreate the recipes when I got home. Take a look at their website if you have a minute. It’s an amazing gourmet market that I could spend hours in (and spend a fortune in). This salad is close and has all the yummy Southwestern flavors that we love. I hope you will try it. My favorite pickled shrimp recipe is one I found years ago on the Food Channel. This is one of the few Paula Deen recipes that doesn’t have butter in it! The shrimp and onions are delicious and I often serve them as an appetizer or in a seafood salad.
- 3 cups water or broth
- 1-1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Juice from 3 limes
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon chipotle chili power or cayenne
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can black beans, drained
- ½ cup fresh or frozen corn
- ½ red onion, diced
- ½ cup roasted red pepper, diced
- 1 tablespoon jalapeno, minced
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
- ½ cup queso fresco, optional
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Combine quinoa, water or broth in a medium pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Let cool.
- Make dressing by combining lime juice, cumin, chili powder, chipolte chili powder, vinegar, olive oil and garlic in a small bowl.
- In a separate bowl combine black beans, corn, onion, red pepper, jalapenos and cilantro.
- After quinoa cools combine it with black bean mixture. Stir in cheese if desired.
- Toss with dressing and serve at room temperature or chilled.
In case you are ever on Jeopardy here is some quinoa trivia that might come in handy. The grain has an interesting history that goes back centuries and has become a favorite ingredient to those of us who are watching our diets and trying to eat better. Like couscous it absorbs the flavors of the foods it is mixed with and is perfect for quick and satisfying salads and side dishes.
- Pronounced “KEEN-wah” (I know…nothing like it looks)
- Stable grain of Inca, Mayan and native Americans
- Quinoa means “Mother Grain”
- Ancient Incas thought it was sacred
- Incan armies were sustained for days on “war balls” which were a mixture of quinoa and fat
- Grown in the US only since 1980 (in Colorado)
- Widely grown in Bolivia, Chile, Peru
- Quick cooking whole grain (cooks in 12-15 minutes)
- It is available in white and red varieties (white is more common in the US)
- The shape is small and oval, and it looks like a cross between a sesame seed and millet
- Whole grain
- Gluten Free
- Complete protein (contains all essential amino acids)
- Twice the fiber of pasta or brown rice
- Higher in calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, and zinc than other whole grains
- Quinoa has a nutty flavor
It’s time again for Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum, Fresh Food Friday at La Bella Vita and On the Menu Monday at StoneGable. Many thanks to our gracious hosts for inviting us over for the party.