Sunday, April 1, 2012

Quinoa Salad with Veggies and Black Beans

In the spirit of dream-following, I am eschewing my studies for a brief moment and doing something I actually enjoy. That stuff has to be done before bedtime, regardless, so off we go!

I have been seeing quinoa salads all over Pinterest, so I decided it was high time I tried one. Quinoa (keen-wah, yeah my husband and I totally called it kwin-oh-a for like a year), if you didn't already know, is a very nutritious pseudo-grain that is as versatile as rice and can be prepared in a variety of ways. It has a subtle flavor that lends itself well to all types of cuisines. We've used it before in veggie patties that kept us going during No Meat May (it was the meatiest thing I had all month, in terms of texture, which made me happy).

Which leads us to yesterday's creation. I didn't have any of the ingredients that the Pinteresting people wanted me to have, so I came up with something new. It's not creamy, it's not rich, but it is delicious and tasty and good for you!

You'll need:
1 cup quinoa (get the pre-rinsed kind... very bitter taste fresh off the farm!)
2 cups of water
1 small pepper, chopped (I used an orange one)
5 carrots, peeled & chopped (But really, who's counting?)
1 really pretty ripe tomato from your local produce stand on the side of the road, cut into chunks
1 can black beans, rinsed
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp veggie better-than-bouillon (Okay, or bouillon)

Isn't it pretty?
Bring water to a boil on a hot stove and go ahead and add your seasonings. Once the water is boiling, dump the quinoa and veggies in, and turn it down a little. The water is not going to cover everything, so just tamp it all down as best you can and cover it up again. This is renegade cooking, we don't always make sense. Stir every so often and cook for 12 minutes, then check to see if all the water is soaked up. As long as it's mostly soaked up, that's fine too. I like quinoa firm, myself. Now you're going to dump it in a bowl and mix in the black beans. Only don't add your tomato, because there's something I haven't told you: This stuff is way better cold. Just put it in a metal bowl set in some ice water if you're in a hurry. Once it's cooled off to your satisfaction, add the tomato and enjoy.

There's something else I haven't told you. You can switch these ingredients out for anything else that sounds better to you. No, really. It's so easy and you don't have to listen to me and what I happened to have onhand - mix it up and see what you like.

If you portion into 8 servings, each one is 268 calories, has 14 grams of protein and is very filling. I always like to think and talk about nutrition, so I would point out that's recipe analyzer thought that my recipe was

Very low in saturated fat
No cholesterol
Low in sodium
High in dietary fiber
High in manganese
High in magnesium
High in phosphorus
High in potassium
High in thiamin
Very high in vitamin A
High in vitamin C

I'll take it!

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