Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

Whether you are looking for gluten-free, vegan or just delicious then quinoa is great menu option. Quinoa is usually considered a grain, but it really is a seed in the spinach and Swiss chard family. When cooked this delicious seed has a fluffy texture similar to cooked couscous with a slight crunch.

Besides quinoa's nutty, delicious taste it also has many health benefits. Quinoa is a complete protein which means it contains all nine amino acids. Not only is quinoa a great protein source, but also a good source of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorous. Quinoa is becoming much more common and can often be found in grocery stores, health food stores and various cooperatives.

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon paprika
1 large onion, finely chopped (2 cups)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 or 2 red bell peppers, diced
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
1 tablespoon dried cilantro leaves or 1/2 cup fresh
1 can (12 oz) kernel corn, drained
1 can (14 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 large tomato, diced
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
1 small can black olives (optional)
1/2 cup pine nuts toasted (optional)
1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed (juice of one lemon)
Salt and pepper to taste

1) In a sieve, rinse the quinoa under running water and drain.
2) Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a saucepan.  Add paprika and stir constantly for 1 minute.  Add quinoa and water.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, or until the water is absorbed and quinoa is tender, yet a bit chewy.  If you prefer quinoa with a firmer textures, use 1 cup of water.
3) Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a frying pan.  Sauté onion, garlic, cumin and coriander until onions are translucent.  Stir in red bell peppers, hot pepper flakes and cilantro.  Sauté another 5 minutes.
4) Add cooked quinoa to sautéed vegetables.  Stir in the corn, black beans, tomato, feta, olives, pine nuts, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve

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