Hello there. I hope that your 2012 is off to a great start. I’m checking in with yet another recipe. My husband is away on business this week, so I’m using the opportunity to experiment with some new recipes, especially ones that call for beans and other ingredients he may not be such a fan of!
I love grain salads, whether I’m using bulgur, couscous, brown rice or quinoa. It’s nice that you can serve them warm or cold, and they are a bit more comforting than your traditional green salads during the cold winter months. I pulled ideas from a few different recipes to come up with this Southwestern spin on quinoa salad, and I must say, it was a total success (At least Baby Brown and I think so!). This salad makes a great entrée, side dish or pot luck addition, and the cumin-lime dressing makes it unique and delicious! Did I mention it’s also gluten-free?
Ingredients (Makes about 6 servings):
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 3/4 cup water
1 lb. of chicken breasts, baked and shredded*
2 avocados, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
1 1/2 cups of cilantro, chopped
1 pint-sized package of cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can of corn, drained
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
The juice from 2 limes
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp cumin
Salt to taste
*The chicken is optional. I included it since it was a main entrée, and I need all the protein I can get right now, but feel free to skip it if you want to make this a side dish or just want a vegetarian meal.
One recipe I saw called for purple onion, but I skipped it since raw onions and I aren’t friends right now (Holy heartburn!), and another called for black-eyed peas. The beauty of this dish is that you can mix it up and make it different every time!
- If you’re including the chicken, bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes. I seasoned mine with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder. When they are fully cooked, let cool for a few minutes and then shred into small pieces.
- Combine the quinoa and water in a small covered sauce pan and simmer until all the water is absorbed and the grains are light and fluffy, or about 20 minutes. Uncover and let cool.
- While the chicken and quinoa are cooking, chop your avocados, tomatoes, green onions, cilantro and bell pepper and combine in a large bowl.
- Add the corn, beans and quinoa and toss evenly.
- Next, prepare your cumin-lime dressing: whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, garlic, cumin and salt.
- Add the shredded chicken to the salad and pour the dressing on top, stirring well so that the dressing coats the salad evenly.
- Serve warm, or let it cool in the refrigerator to serve later.
Colorful, nutritious, gluten-free, protein-packed and a Southwestern flare…what more could you want in a recipe? Feel free to garnish with a little shredded cheese or sour cream, or serve with a side of tortilla chips.
Enjoy, and let me know your feedback if you give this dish a try!