Sunday, May 1, 2011

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Tomatoes

Everyone should have a go-to recipe for potlucks and barbecues. Not that you can't ever bring something different, but the security of having a delicious dish you can put together in a few minutes without thinking too much about it sure is nice. This quinoa salad has been my go-to recipe for a couple summers now. I  freshen it up by changing the ingredients slightly each time--sometimes I'll throw in some grilled veggies, or avocados, or whatever else I have on hand that looks like it would fit in.

I adapted this recipe from one at Two teaspoons of lime zest AND two tablespoons of lime juice was a bit too limey for even my tastes, so I've scaled back on the lime and added some other spices to give it a more interesting mix of flavors. Also, the directions on epicurious for cooking the quinoa seemed really finicky--they want you to cook it in water, then drain it, then steam it with a towel over the top. I've had great success cooking quinoa exactly as I cook rice, and you can't tell the difference.

  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1  can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2  tomatoes, diced
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 avocado, diced (optional)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta (optional, but delicious!)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Soak quinoa in cold water for 15-30 minutes, then rinse. Heat 1 1/2 cups water to boiling, then add quinoa and cover with tight-fitting lid and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes, then turn off heat and leave the lid on for 5 more minutes.

While the quinoa is cooking, mix the lime zest, lime juice, butter, oil, sugar and spices in a large bowl. Add cooked quinoa and stir gently to coat the quinoa in the dressing. Add other ingredients. This can be served warm, cold, or at room temperature, and makes a great leftover or a filling for wraps.

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