Cooking with quinoa

It might not be much to look at, but quinoa is quite the powerhouse. Once cooked, of course.

What’s this? Another recipe? I know what you’re thinking: Where is Jill and why did she go all Food Network on us?

First of all, I love the Food Network. Second, I’ve had some extra time on my hands. Why not make something delicious to eat?

Which brings me to quinoa. Pronounced Keen*wa.

If you’ve never had quinoa, but are interested in jazzing up current dishes that use rice or couscous, you may want to try it. Considered an ancient grain, quinoa cooks in much the same manner as rice and is gluten-free (easily digestible), crazy-high in protein and quite versatile.

I found this particular quinoa recipe in the September/October 2010 issue of Clean Eating magazine (pg. 58). I’ve already made it twice and both times Husband raved of its wonderfulness.

Perhaps you will, too.

The Loaded Bowl

3 c. quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 – 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and well drained
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 c. cilantro chopped (add more or less depending on your tastes)
2 avocado, pitted and peeled
Fresh lemon juice to keep avocados from turning brown
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Juice of 4 limes
Zest 1 lime

Dressing:
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 c. white vinegar
2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper or more, optional
1/2 tsp. chili powder or more, optional

Prepare quinoa according to package directions. Cover and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, add beans, tomatoes and cilantro, tossing to combine.

Add all dressing ingredients to a food processor. Pulse until garlic is blended and dressing appears creamy. Set aside in fridge.

Fluff quinoa with a fork and add bean mixture. Season with salt and pepper and add lime juice and zest; toss to combine. Serve in bowls. Top with avocado slices (cut avocado last, or mix with lemon juice to keep from browning). Drizzle with dressing. If desired, garnish with a few more sprigs of cilantro.

Storage: This grain salad keeps well, covered, in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. You can make the leftovers last longer by slicing the avocado fresh and add to the mix just before serving. Without the avocado, the dish will last up to 5 or 6 days. Freezes well.

Just a note: This recipe serves 12. I cut the amount of quinoa and lime juice in half, as well as the dressing ingredients. You may simply decide to freeze your extras. Also, I like to add chopped red onion and top with pieces of grilled chicken breast. You can’t go wrong with extra protein.

Enjoy!

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One thought on “Cooking with quinoa

  1. Quinoa Diet says:

    That’s what I like about quinoa. It is simple and delicious. It’s really easy to prepare. This Loaded bowl recipe sounds great too.
    Thanks for sharing!

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