Tex Mex Quinoa Salad

If you read food blogs as much as I do you are probably sick of quinoa…and kale…and chia seeds…and pretty much everything else über trendy and healthy.  However, there is lots of confusion out there about quinoa despite its popularity.  It is not a grain but in fact a seed.  It’s not the brainchild of Trader Joes but is what Andean cultures subsisted on over 4,000 years ago.  Extremely popular in Peru it started filtering into our collective food consciousness several years ago and started showing up on grocery store shelves.

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I have actually read that some indigenous peoples in Peru can no long eat it as part of their diet because the demand for exporting quinoa has grown so significantly.  According to the United Nations in 1970 quinoa was exported for 8 cents a kilogram.  By 2000 it was going for $1.25 a kilogram and in 2010 that doubled to $3.02!  That might account for how this little South American seed started getting used in unusual ways – a scary Pinterst search shows quinoa crust for pizza, quinoa mac and cheese, and buffalo quinoa bites!  You know you have truly made it when you enter the pantheon of pop culture – it did inspire one of the best beer commercials ever.

Don’t let the hype dissuade you – quinoa really is a terrific staple to incorporate into your menus.  It’s very high in protein, quick cooking, gluten-free and like pasta or rice it picks up the flavors of whatever it cooks with.  I like to stick to latin flavors when cooking with it and will let the rest experiment.  This salad is a great way to use up left over vegetables or frozen veggies.  If I have bell peppers that I won’t be able to cook with before they go bad I just chop them up and keep them in a plastic baggie in the freezer for a recipe like this.  There are lots of recipes out there for salads like this but this one is my own creation and is constantly evolving depending on what I have in the fridge so please view this as a method, not a hard and fast recipe.  It would be great topped with sliced avocado and served with fish tacos or with grilled pork tenderloin like I did (recipe for that will be coming next Fiesta Friday).  It also makes great leftovers that can easily be reheated in the microwave for lunch the next day.

Tex Mex Quinoa Salad (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:   what’s in my fridge/freezer at the time

Special Equipment: none

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken or veggie stock, or water, or some combo of both
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or olive oil it doesn’t really matter)
  • 1 cup corn kernels (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 medium size onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped (ribs and seeds removed if you don’t like heat)
  • 1/2 of a bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 scallions, white and light green parts chopped

Bring the stock and or water to a boil in a saucepan with a lid.  Stock will impart more flavor but not necessary by any means.  Once boiling add the quinoa, stir and cover with the lid.  Slowly decrease the heat to low and allow to simmer for 15 minutes covered.  Some kinds of quinoa recommend to rinse it in water before cooking, some don’t.  Just look at the box or bag – if it says rinse throw the quinoa in a small strainer and just run under water before adding it to the pan.  After 15 minutes turn the heat off and allow the quinoa to steam in the pot for 5 minutes before removing the lid and fluffing with a fork.

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In the meantime in a skillet heat the oil over medium heat and then add the corn, chopped onions, jalapeno, and bell pepper.  Cook for approximately 6 minutes until softened and maybe browning ever so slightly.

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Add the garlic and beans, stir and cook for another 2 minutes.  If the quinoa is done dump it into the pan and stir to combine.  If it still has a couple of minutes just turn the heat off the vegtables until ready to add the quinoa, then return the skillet to medium heat.  If the quinoa is a little wet this is a good way to get rid of the excess liquid and also help the flavors blend.  Stir in the green onions and then serve.

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Tex Mex Quinoa Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Print

Special Equipment: none

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken or veggie stock, or water, or some combo of both
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or olive oil it doesn’t really matter)
  • 1 cup corn kernels (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 medium size onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped (ribs and seeds removed if you don’t like heat)
  • 1/2 of a bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 scallions, white and light green parts chopped

    Bring the stock and or water to a boil in a saucepan with a lid.  Once boiling add the quinoa, stir and cover with the lid.  Slowly decrease the heat to low and allow to simmer for 15 minutes covered.  After 15 minutes turn the heat off and allow the quinoa to steam in the pot for 5 minutes before removing the lid and fluffing with a fork.

    In the meantime in a skillet heat the oil over medium heat and then add the corn, chopped onions, jalapeno, and bell pepper.  Cook for approximately 6 minutes until softened and maybe browning ever so slightly.  Add the garlic and beans, stir and cook for another 2 minutes.  If the quinoa is done dump it into the pan and stir to combine.  If it still has a couple of minutes just turn the heat off until ready to add the quinoa, then return the skillet to medium heat.  If the quinoa is a little wet this is a good way to get rid of the excess liquid and also help the flavors blend.  Stir in the green onions and then serve.

6 Comments

  1. Pingback: Aji Amarillo Sauce | A Capitol Contessa

  2. Lucille Poleshuck says:

    I make a quinoa salad that has feta cheese among other ingredients. I think feta could be used here. Just chop it finely, add and mix.

    Like

  3. Patrick says:

    to clarify, you won’t be posting any recipes for quinoa crust for pizza, quinoa mac and cheese, and buffalo quinoa bites?

    Like

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