I am dreaming about sunny beaches in Mexico! Chris and I will soon be celebrating 20 years of marriage with a well-timed get-away and that just so happens to be why I am also dreaming about fresh Mexican flavors.
A few weeks back, our classroom culinary educator, Lana, made this recipe for a Lunch and Learn cooking class. I have to admit, I wasn’t wild about quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) until I tried this recipe! I love the explosion of colors and the tangy dressing. Crisp veggies come to life with a punch of lime, cilantro and garlic. On a cold afternoon in Belleville, a bite of Mexican Quinoa took my daydreams of sunshine and beaches up a notch!
A little background on quinoa as I understand it:
A few years ago, this relatively undiscovered grain was propelled into super food status in the U.S. thanks to its density of protein, fiber and essential amino acids. Quinoa is also gluten-free and low in calories compared to other grains. This ancient grain comes almost exclusively from the Andes Mountains, where ideal growing conditions have helped it feed the Andes population for generations.
In 2013, the United Nations declared the International Year of Quinoa in effort to raise awareness about the grain’s history and future potential as an international food. Because of quinoa’s growing popularity, there has been a significant impact (with both benefits and challenges) to the indigenous peoples of the Andes. Google “International Year of Quinoa 2013” or visit fao.org for more details. It will give you a glimpse into quinoas current status and its potential future.
If you are craving a salad that nourishes your mind and your body, give Mexican Quinoa a try!
Eat well this winter, Angie
- 1 cup quinoa (approximately 2 cups cooked)
- 1 can (16 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 1/2 cups frozen corn, defrosted
- 1 to 2 cups red, green, orange, yellow bell peppers, diced
- 1 small red onion, finely diced
- 1 medium tomato, seeded, diced
- ½ jalapeño pepper, rib removed, deseeded and minced
- ¼ to 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- ¾ cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon chili powder, or to taste
- 2 cloves garlic, mashed
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 to 2 tablespoons Eckert’s Pure Honey
- Juice of 2 fresh limes
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- For the Salad: Follow package directions for cooking quinoa. Allow quinoa to cool 20 minutes before adding to the remaining salad ingredients. Place all ingredients in a large serving bowl and drizzle with dressing. Toss until well coated. Cover and store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
- For the Dressing: Combine all ingredients in a 2-cup mason-type canning jar; shake well. Allow to set about 10 minutes. Shake again; taste and adjust seasonings. Makes 8 servings.