Saturday, May 5, 2012

Rich Quinoa Salad---Mexican-Inspired

I have been very much into quinoa recently. I buy it by pounds at Whole Foods, most often red or multicolored variety and serve it at least once in two weeks. It has a very neutral taste and I was able to convince my kids to eat it sometimes instead of rice.

Last couple of days in DC have been again very hot. On days like these, salad is all I often serve for dinner. For quite some time I have been thinking of making a salad with quinoa, similar to the Mediterranean salads with bulgar wheat or cous cous, but dressing it differently.

Quinoa is an ancient grain coming from South America, so I thought that its very delicate taste could be enhanced by adding some Mexican ingredients. I used still slightly warm quinoa and tossed in all the ingredients. I have started with tomatoes. First time I used roasted tomatoes but recently I made it also with fresh tomatoes. I also added pablano peppers, which I roasted and peeled off. Than I added avocado cut into chunks and red onion. I seasoned everything with lime, sprinkled with cilantro and, at the end, with roasted unsalted peppitas--pumpkin seeds. Finally, salt and pepper and my salad was ready. It is a particularly good idea to make it when you have some quinoa leftovers.

I did not add any oil to this salad but at the very end I put a dollop of Mexican cream. Maybe it added some calories but tasted really good.

Rich Quinoa Salad

1 cup multicolored or red quinoa, uncooked,
3 pablano peppers,
3 Roma tomatoes,
1/2 medium onion,
1 avocado,
juice from one lime or lemon,
1/3 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves,
2 tbsp roasted pumpkin seeds,
2 tbsp crema fresco (Mexican crème fraîche) to finish (optional),
salt and pepper to taste.

1. Cook quinoa (one cup of quinoa in 2 cups of water) until water evaporates. late it cool to room temperature.Transfer to a medium bowl.
2. Roast the pablano peppers under a broil, let them cool and peel them off. When cold, cut them into strips and add to the quinoa.
3. Cut tomatoes into small cubes. Toss them into the salad. Cut an onion in half, cut in thin slices, and add to the salad.
4. Peel off avocado, remove the stone. Cut each half in two and then cut into thick slices. Add to the salad.
5. Squeeze juice from one lime. Pour over the salad. Add chopped coriander, pumpkin seeds, salt and pepper. Gently mix all the ingredients.

Decorate with crema fresco and serve.

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