Thursday, April 15, 2010

Black Bean, Corn, and Quinoa Salad

I'm always looking for more satisfying and healthy vegetarian dishes to try. I too often eat chicken, ground beef, and pork because they are cheap and easy to prepare sources of protein, but it would be better for my health and the earth if I cut down on meat consumption. I don't eat as most meat as most people, but I would still like to eat less. I adapted this recipe from a recipe in the May 2010 issue of Food and Wine magazine, adding some more vegetables and using ground cumin instead of cumin seeds, since that's what I had on hand.

Although quinoa isn't a grain most people have in the pantry, it has been growing in popularity in recent years. Quinoa comes from South America and was once held sacred by the Incas. It is high in protein, fiber, and iron and contains a balanced set of amino acids unlike wheat or rice. Next time you're thinking of having rice or couscous, try quinoa instead.

Black Bean, Corn, and Quinoa Salad
adapted from Santa Fe Quinoa Salad from Food and Wine, May 2010

makes 4 servings

3/4 c. quinoa
1.5 c. water
Kosher salt
1/2 t. ground cumin
2 T. fresh lime juice
6 T. canola oil
Freshly ground pepper
One 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained (with jalapenos, if you can find them)
One 15-ounce can corn, rinsed and drained
1 small red bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 c. finely chopped cilantro
One 3-ounce jar cocktail onions, drained and finely chopped (raw white/yellow onions would also work)

1. In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa, water, and a pinch of salt; bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Spread the quinoa on a baking sheet; refrigerate for about 20 minutes.

2. Whisk together cumin, lime juice, and oil until combined. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Pour the dressing into a bowl and add the black beans, corn, bell pepper, cilantro, and cocktail onions. Scrape the quinoa into the bowl, season with salt and pepper and serve.

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