Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Rainbow Mexi-quinoa medley

I made a produce-packed trip to the grocery store a couple Thursdays ago, so when I got home after work on Friday, I decided to kick off the weekend with something fresh, light, and healthy. I pretty much improvised this as I went along, and it turned out great. The amounts listed below, especially the dressing ingredients, are low-balled estimates, so feel free to add an extra drizzle of oil or dash of cumin if you feel it needs it.

1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed well
1/2 cup fresh or thawed frozen corn
1/4 cup chunky salsa
15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 ripe avocado, pitted and diced
1T olive oil
1T lime juice
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Immediately after you cut the avocado, transfer it to a large bowl and toss with 1T lime juice to prevent it from browning. Mix well, but gently; you want the avocado pieces to stay distinct (rather than turning it into guacamole). Add the beans and tomatoes to the avocado.

Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add a pinch of salt, stir in the quinoa, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 12 minutes. Stir in the corn and salsa, re-cover, and cook for 2-3 minutes more.

While the quinoa is simmering, whisk the olive oil, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne with 2T warm water in a small bowl. When the quinoa is done, fluff it up with a fork and add to the bean and veggie mixture. Add the dressing mixture and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt, fold in the cilantro, and serve.

It was delicious! I love the snappy consistency of quinoa, but I’m glad that I included little enough that the veggies were the star. The sweet, juicy tomatoes played well off the cilantro and spices. Black beans and corn are a match made in heaven, if you ask me, and the lush and creamy avocado rounded out the dish beautifully. It’s an explosion of textures and flavors, not to mention a nutritional powerhouse. And how great are those colors? Hello, summer!

Yield: 3 servings. Per serving: 343 calories, 10.9g fat (2g sat), 51.8g carbs, 12g fiber, 13.5g protein.

If you like this, you might also like...
Roasted potato wraps w/black bean hummus
Black bean-avocado enchiladas
Chilaquiles casserole

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  1. I love quinoa salads! And am appalled that you don't eat leaves! :) But I too often try to define myself as an almost vegan (I really hate labels though)...except I usually say I'm "vegan-ish". That's my name for my (our) type of vegetarianism, haha. Yum.

  2. Thanks for stopping by! We pseudo-vegans have to stick together :]

    I know, it IS appalling that I don't like leaves! I wish it weren't the case. But guess what—I made my first green smoothie this morning, and I'm drinking it right now! Banana, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, flaxseed, protein powder, soymilk, and a big old wad of spinach. I'm so proud of myself! :P

  3. So glad you tried a Green Monster! I told you it was good !! I crave them fact it was dinner last night :)

  4. *adds to shopping list*

    I *heart* quinoa. It is one of the few plant based complete proteins out there. :)