Quinoa is one of the most amazing and versatile ‘grains’ out there. Quinoa is not a true grain, and is actually more closely related to beets, spinach and tumbleweeds than to grains like wheat or rice (thanks Wikipedia). Quinoa is gluten free and a complete protein which makes it perfect for people with gluten intolerances and for vegetarians. I personally feel that it is an amazing food for just about everyone! You can typically find quinoa in a white or red variety and for this recipe I used red.
Lately, I have been making a big batch of quinoa salad on Sundays and eating it for lunch throughout the week. I have been throwing together lots of different ingredients with the quinoa to create really interesting salad combinations. Below you will find one of my favorite combinations which combines cilantro, lime, black beans and quinoa goodness. I kept this version meatless, however, this would work well with some cubed chicken tossed in.
1 cup red quinoa
2 cups water or chicken broth
1 2.25 oz. can sliced black olives
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 15 oz. can black bean, drained and rinsed
1/4 red onion, diced
5 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
2 avocados, cubed
*1 cup cilantro lime dressing
Cook quinoa in water or chicken broth according to directions on package. Toss the cooked quinoa with the olives, pepper, tomatoes, beans, onion, scallions, avocado and dressing. Serve immediately or refrigerate to eat later on in the week. Bring back up to room temperature before serving. Serves 6.
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup lime juice
2 Tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 bunch cilantro
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth and gorgeously green in color.
This dressing is phenomenal served on just about anything! Brian and I also love to make a huge Mexican salad tossed with this dressing. If you would like it sweeter, you can add a tablespoon or two more honey to the blender.