I have to admit, this is the very first time I’ve ever tried quinoa. Before today, I didn’t even know how to pronounce the darn seed. I went to our nearby Sprouts Market looking for kwuh-NO-ah and I was greeted by blank stares. “Oh, you mean KEEN-wah?”, answered an employee after I repeated myself for the fifth time and lead me to the appropriate aisle. You see, I saw my doctor a few weeks ago regarding persistent discomfort and swelling on my knees. Fortunately, he said my complaints were from nothing major. Unfortunately, he said they were from the weight I gained this past year. I am built like your everyday Asian and I suppose my frame is not accustomed to the extra pounds it’s carrying now. *sob.
Like a typical Asian, rice is a quintessential part of my daily meals. But as I have been placed by my doctor on a semi-diet, I had to look into the superfood quinoa as a possible replacement. Quinoa is touted as a protein-rich grain as well as a good source of potassium, iron, Vitamin E, lysine and fiber. Along with its nutritional benefits, I also found it to cook just as easy as rice. And with the plethora of quinoa recipes I discovered online, it appears to be pretty versatile as well.
If there is a better introduction to quinoa, it is this southwestern quinoa salad. I enjoyed the experience so much I don’t think I’ll pine for rice for too long. The red bell peppers, black beans and corn thrown in the mix compliment the nutty quinoa while the lime dressing wraps it all up with enough tang and spice. Give this side dish of healthy goodness a try and let me know what you think.
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 cups water (or vegetable broth)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- juice of 3 limes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 (15 ounces) can black beans, rinsed and drained well
- 1 (8.75 ounces) can kernel corn, drained
- 1 small red bell pepper, seeded, cored and diced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
- ½ red onion, peeled and chopped
- Using a fine mesh sieve, rinse quinoa under cold running water until water runs clear. Drain well.
- In a pot over medium heat, combine quinoa, water and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for about 5 minutes. Using a fork, fluff grains to separate. Allow to cool.
- In a small bowl, combine lime juice, olive oil and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt. Whisk until blended.
- In a large bowl, combine quinoa, black beans, corn, red bell peppers, jalapeno pepper and onions. Add lime dressing and gently toss to combine. Refrigerate for about 20 to 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Serve cold.