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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Keen on Quinoa!

Quinoa: (keen-wah) - this wonderful seed is considered a pseudocereal, much like amaranth.  Not exactly a grain, not a grass, but extremely delicious!  Quinoa is high in protein and fiber and cooks up in a cinch (about 15 minutes on the stove top!).  I jut recently discovered this superfood and I'm hooked!  It's great in anything from salads, stews, or served up with a bunch of sauteed veggies.  I will actually just throw on a bit of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and go to town.  Yum!

My new favorite recipe involving quinoa is Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Toasted Cumin Seeds from Appetite for Reduction.  This recipe is simple, quickly thrown together and absolutely delicious and filling!  I had a real hankering for a salad this last week, so I made this and I was pleased as punch.  The best thing about this salad is that it tastes even better the longer you let it sit!  As I've said before, I cook for myself, so this is important when the meal has to last me for 4 days.

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans & Toasted Cumin Seeds
Serves 4
Gluten and Soy free

2 cups cooked quinoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 cup finely diced plum tomatoes (about 4)
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (3-4 limes)
2 teaspoons light agave nectar
1 teaspoon grapeseed oil
1 (15oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup finely chopped scallions
Mixed greens, for serving

Cooking quinoa: Mix 1 cup of uncooked quinoa with 2 cups water, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the grain is tender and the water has been absorbed.

Place the quinoa in a large mixing bowl, if it isn't already cooling in one.

To toast the cumin seeds, preheat an 8-inch pan over low heat.  Place the cumin seeds in the dry pan and toss for about 5 minutes.  Immediately transfer to a medium side mixing bowl.

Add the tomatoes, lime juice, agave nectar, and grapeseed oil (I used organic, local sunflower oil) to the mixing bowl and mix well.  When the quinoa has cooled, mix it in.  Fold in the beans and scallions.  Taste for salt.  You can serve immediately or let sit for a bit for the flavors to meld.  Serve over greens.

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