Now back with a delicious salad recipe, the Designer Daughter is here with another guest post! After last time’s tasty, but admittedly less-than-nutritious bacony, cheesy flatbread, I felt like something lighter and healthier was in order. Besides, here in the northeast, the weather is finally starting to give us some hope of spring! This hope is, incidentally, doomed to be disappointed by at least a few more freezing days and most likely another depressing snowstorm before spring can really be trusted -- we New Englanders are cynical enough to be wary of declaring winter over any time before May. And yet, we foolishly hope anyways…
Where was I? Oh right, quinoa. ANYWAYS, this is a recipe I’ve been making a variant of since my undergrad days, when I was desperately trying to find lunch options that could be made ahead and didn’t require me to waste valuable time waiting in line to use one of two functioning microwaves in the commuter lounge during the 20 minutes of lunch between choir and afternoon classes. This one has fairly economical ingredients and will last several days in the refrigerator, continuing to marinate as it does so.
The original inspiration can be found HERE on Allrecipes, but I’ve since tweaked the proportions and added some ingredients to bulk things out a bit. It’s a very flexible recipe in general, so feel free to add and subtract things you want, or just throw in whatever you’ve got in the fridge and pantry and see what happens (which is pretty much how this recipe came to be what it is now).
You can use any kind of quinoa you like; I happen to prefer the red kind. I also like to use a mix of tomato colors for some visual variety. One day I decided to throw some corn into it, since we have a tendency to grill corn in the summer and throw the kernels into the freezer for later. Did you know you can also chop and freeze green onion? I usually snip mine with kitchen scissors right when I buy it unless it’s going to be consumed immediately. You can store it in a ziplock or any other kind of container and just tap out the amount you want to use in your recipes; it will pretty much defrost on contact.
The avocado is optional here, but it is HEAVENLY in my opinion so I recommend you try it at least once. Avocados being a fickle species, I would not recommend mixing it in if you plan to leave the salad in the fridge -- I don’t think black mush would be a good addition. Instead, play the avocado lottery by opening one you think is ripe, and then mix in chunks to the portion you plan to eat immediately before serving.
Hearty Quinoa Salad with Lime Dressing Recipe
This makes enough for several meal-sized portions. If you’re planning to use it as an appetizer or side, feel free to cut it in half.
Completely by accident, this is gluten-free and vegan -- so make of that what you will.
2 cups red quinoa
Juice from 3 limes
3 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoon salt
¼ cup Olive oil
½ Teaspoon red pepper flakes
about 16oz cherry tomatoes
1 can black beans
1 can red or kidney beans
About 16oz corn, frozen, canned, or freshly roasted
About 3oz sliced green onion
About ¼ cup chopped cilantro
Extra salt and pepper to taste
Avocado to serve, about ½ per portion (optional but delicious)
Cook the quinoa according to package instructions, usually 4 cups water for 2 cups quinoa, brought to a boil and then left to simmer, covered, about 15min
In the meantime, make your dressing by combining olive oil, lime juice, cumin, salt, and pepper flakes. You can use a whisk and bowl, or just shake it up in a glass jar.
Prep your other ingredients by chopping your tomatoes in half (quarters if they happen to be huge), draining and rinsing your beans and corn, and chopping up your cilantro and green onion.
Combine all of the above in a very large bowl, mixing in the dressing and adding extra salt, pepper, or lime to taste. (If your corn and/or green onion is frozen, mixing it into the warm quinoa will be enough to defrost it).
Eat immediately because you’re hungry and why else would you be cooking, or leave it to chill in the fridge to improve the flavor.
Optional: each time you scoop an individual bowl to eat, add about half an avocado (or more if you’re greedy), cut into cubes. Just trust me on this one -- it’s DIVINE.
Quinoa packaged for easy storage, deli containers to TRANSFORM your food storage (which we wrote about in THIS post), and colorful ceramic mixing bowls that make cooking pretty…it’s the little things that make life more enjoyable! (click on each image for more info)
Jenna Rae Lorusso is a classical singer and voice teacher with a passion for music, food, and style. She also likes hats. Her mother is a fabulous cook and designer, and she figures at least some of that is hereditary. You can find out more by visiting jennaraelorusso.com, or by following her on Facebook. To see her obsession with vintage fashion and leafy branchy things, check out her Pinterest.
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