Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Mexican Quinoa Salad


It helps to have friends in all the right places!  For me, that is my friend Anamaria.  Anamaria was born in Peru and visits her family as much as possible and always has such great stories to tell from her travels.  Whenever she goes back I ask her to post pictures of the amazing cuisine and landscapes from her travels.  I'm grateful that she often sends me a little treat from her trips to have a "taste" of her native Peru when she comes back.  Usually, it's the coffee chocolates that are to die for and that I hide from my kids.  This time, she sent me that as well as a bag full of Black Quinoa!  Black is her favorite and it is quickly becoming mine!  I knew I wanted to make a latin infused salad with it but wasn't quite sure about the combination until today.  Check it out, I will definitely be making this again and again!  And it keeps my wife Samantha's personal trainer happy too because it's healthy!



First we start with the 1 cup quinoa.  Rinse the quinoa in a sieve to make sure it is cleaned off. 
Add it to a small saucepan.  Add 2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook over medium high heat until boiling.  Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat to low and cover.  Continue cooking for 20 minutes and then shut the heat off and let sit for 5 more minutes.
When 5 minutes are up, remove cover and fluff the quinoa.  Now, time to make the vinaigrette.
Drain the contents of your can of Rotel over the bowl you will be serving it in (you want to use all those delicious juices!).  Save the tomatoes and chiles to add to the dish later.
To the Rotel liquid add the juices of three fresh limes.
Whisk thoroughly and then add the 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper and whisk again.
Finely mince your garlic clove and add it to the bowl.
Whisk. whisk, whisk away!
Add 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard and whisk some more.  While whisking, drizzle in the olive oil and pick up the speed of the whisking.  Lastly, add in the agave nectar to balance the acidity and whisk one last time.
Roughly chop your two avocado's and immediately get them in the Mexican liquid pool so they don't turn brown!
Ahhhh, look how happy these avocado's are marinating in this delicious golden bath!
Next, finely chop 1/4 cup purple onion and tell them to jump in the pool with their friends the avocado!  Next, empty the black beans into the sieve and rinse under cold water to wash off their liquids.  Add the drained beans and drained corn to the bowl.  Next add the drained Rotel tomatoes and chiles.
Finely chop about 1/4 cup fresh cilantro and add it to the bowl.  Mix everything extremely well and let chill in the fridge.  There are a lot of juices in this side dish but I like that because the quinoa keeps drinking it up and it keeps it delicious (you can always drain some of it if it's too much for your liking).  I served it with some honey grilled chicken but it would be absolutely delicious as a light main course as well!  Buon Appetito my friends and thank you Anamaria for the Black Quinoa that created the inspiration for this dish!

MEXICAN QUINOA SALAD RECIPE:
1 cup black
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 10 oz can Rotel tomatoes with chiles Original
3 limes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon agave nectar
2 avocado's, roughly chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped purple onion
15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
15 oz can sweet corn kernels, drained
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro

Pour the quinoa into a sieve and rinse under cold water to make sure it is cleaned off.  Add it to a small saucepan.  Add 2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook over medium high heat until boiling.  Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat to low and cover.  Continue cooking for 20 minutes and then shut the heat off and let sit for 5 more minutes.

When 5 minutes are up, remove cover and fluff the quinoa.  Now, time to make the vinaigrette. 

Drain the contents of your can of Rotel over the bowl you will be serving it in (you want to use all those delicious juices!).  Save the tomatoes and chiles to add to the dish later.  To the Rotel liquid add the juices of three fresh limes.  Whisk thoroughly and then add the 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper and whisk again.  Add 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard and whisk some more.  While whisking, drizzle in the olive oil and pick up the speed of the whisking.  Lastly, add in the agave nectar to balance the acidity and whisk one last time.

Roughly chop your two avocado's and immediately get them in the Mexican liquid pool so they don't turn brown!  Next, finely chop 1/4 cup purple onion and add them to the bowl with the avocado.  Next, empty the black beans into the sieve and rinse under cold water to wash off their liquids.  Add the drained beans and drained corn to the bowl.  Add the drained Rotel tomatoes and chiles.

Finely chop about 1/4 cup fresh cilantro and add it to the bowl.  Mix everything extremely well and let chill in the fridge.  There are a lot of juices in this side dish but I like that because the quinoa keeps drinking it up and it keeps it delicious.  I served it with some honey grilled chicken but it would be absolutely delicious as a light main course as well!  Buon Appetito!




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