What is a perfect summer food, ready in 15 minutes and full of nutrition? Quinoa.
Quinoa is a good source of protein, is low fat, full of fiber and very filling. Quinoa may cost more than rice, but it is a bit of a powerhouse when it comes to healthy food. Quinoa comes originally from the Inca people of South America who referred to it as the “mother seed,” and considered it to be sacred. They grew quinoa in South America in the high altitude of the Andes. It was also their staple food for 5,000 years.
One important caveat is that you have to rinse the quinoa thoroughly before you use it to remove to remove a nasty tasting covering on it called saponin. I cook a batch of quinoa at least once a week, as it is so versatile. It is great in a casserole or soup, you can put it into stuffed peppers or even make cookies and cakes with it. I find, though, that it is outstanding in a summer salad.
The following recipe comes from one of my favourite vegan recipe sites ohsheglows.com
Everything I have ever made from this site has been tasty. This would be a wonderful dish to bring to a summer barbeque or potluck party.
Middle-age vegan: Deb Calderon, Cuisine Consultant
Makes 6.5 cups (or serves 4)
For the salad:
1 cup uncooked quinoa (or 3 cups cooked)
1 (15-ounce) can black beans (or 1.5 cups cooked), drained and rinsed
1.5 cups cilantro, finely chopped
3 small/medium carrots, julienned (about 1.5 cups) OR 1 large chopped and roasted sweet potato
4 green onions, chopped
fine grain sea salt & black pepper, to taste
For the dressing:
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1. To prepare the quinoa: Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh sieve. Add into pot along with 1.5 cups water or veggie broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low-medium, and then cover with a tight-fitting lid. Simmer for 15-17 minutes until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy. Remove from heat and steam with the lid on for 5 additional minutes. Fluff with fork and chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, toss the quinoa, drained and rinsed black beans, cilantro, carrots (or roasted sweet potato), and green onions.
3. Whisk together the dressing in a small bowl or jar. Pour onto salad and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I prefer to enjoy this salad chilled, so I usually throw it into the fridge for at least an hour.
This is a great make-ahead salad too—prep it the night before and let it sit in the fridge for up to 24 hours.