Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Southwest Quinoa Salad

This is a recipe that I have come up with after our 21 day cleanse that we did about a month ago. It is great as a side dish or as a meatless lunch entree. I had not really experimented with quinoa much  but now I am hooked. As my garden comes in this summer, I see many ways that I can change this recipe using the vegetable that is ripe at the time, and that makes me very happy! There is nothing better than eating local and in season both for taste and the environment. Stay tuned for some upcoming variations...

Southwest Quinoa Salad

1 1/2 cups quinoa
2 1/2 cups water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can of black beans, drained
1 jalapeno, chopped
1/4 cup onion, chopped fine
3 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
1 cup diced cucumber
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
3 Tbsp lime juice
4 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 avocado diced
4-6 oz feta crumbles

Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a saucepan. Heat the oil over medium heat. Stir in the garlic. Saute until lightly brown. Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with the water. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Remove the quinoa from the stove and place in a large bowl to cool. Add the remainder of the olive oil.

After the quinoa is cool, add the drained black beans, jalapeno, onion, tomatoes, cucumber, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, and lime juice.  Mix all together. Salt and pepper to taste. I always taste it at this point and see if it needs any more seasoning. The seasoning will strengthen over time.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. At the last minute before serving, add chopped avocado. Plate salad and sprinkle the top with crumbled feta.

***Another way to serve this salad, that I love, is to take about 4 handfuls of arugula and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Plate the seasoned arugula, top with quinoa salad and then sprinkle with feta cheese.

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