Monday, February 21, 2011

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

I've finally jumped on the Quinoa bandwagon. When we were shopping at Costco a couple of weeks ago, I saw an enormous bag of Quinoa and decided to purchase it to see what all the hype is about. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is all the rage in the food blogging world. I read up on it to share a little bit of info with you:

  • Quinoa is an amino-acid rich seed
  • It is a relative of spinach and swiss chard
  • It includes all nine essential amino acids
  • It is a good source of magnesium, iron, copper, and phosphorus
  • It is gluten free
Basically, quinoa is extremely healthy and has a lot of health benefits. I am using it in my cooking as a substitute for rice or Cous Cous, but in my reading I found it is commonly used in soups. Please share with me your favorite way to use quinoa, as this is all new to me! 
I was browsing some of my favorite food blogs for ideas to use my quinoa and found this recipe for Black Bean and Bell Pepper Cous Cous Salad on Beantown Baker. I loved how Jen's salad uses so many of hubby and my favorite flavors: corn, black beans, cilantro, lime. Although Jen's salad uses Cous Cous, I substituted quinoa and added fresh sliced avocado on top. This salad was so filling and flavorsome. I loved the taste of  all the veggies with the zesty citrus dressing. The quinoa added a nutty, grainy taste and was a perfect addition. We ate it chilled for two days. It will be hard to find a more tasty use of quinoa!
Southwestern Quinoa Salad
Adapted from Beantown Baker
Makes 8 Servings

1 cup cooked quinoa
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
8 green onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (my store was out so I used cilantro in a tube - great substitute)
1 cup corn (I used frozen corn kernels, thawed)
2 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook 1 cup of quinoa according to directions and set aside. In a large bowl whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, vinegar and cumin. 
Add green onions, red bell pepper, cilantro, corn, and beans and toss to coat.
Fluff the quinoa and break up any chunks. Add the quinoa to the bowl with the veggies and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. 


  1. This looks SO yummy! I keep meaning to buy some Quinoa and experiment with it, but I keep forgetting...BOO!
    Picky Palate also has some yummy looking Quinoa recipes, if you wanted some more ideas :) :) :)

  2. I love this salad and now that I'm on the quinoa bandwagon as well, I'll have to try it again with quinoa. I love that you added avocado!

  3. Hip hip hooray for quinoa! -Meredith

  4. Just made this today and it was awesome! I'm so happy I finally found something healthy that Jon likes!

  5. So delicious! I served it with 1 lb shrimp marinated 30 minutes in about 2-3 T olive oil, zest from a lime, 2 T lime juice, 3 cloves minced garlic, about 1/4 C tequilla, bunch of chopped fresh cilantro and salt and pepper to taste. Stir a few times while marinating then saute a few minutes after removing from most of marinade. The flavors go great with this quinoa dish.



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