This simple recipe featuring mega-healthy quinoa and fresh summer corn has a spicy, zesty kick that’s sure to add a little sizzle to your supper.
Native to South America, quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a protein-rich seed with a fluffy, slightly crunchy texture and light nutty flavor. In addition to protein, it’s also high in iron and calcium, and is a good source of manganese, magnesium, copper and fiber. Most commonly considered a grain, this ancient superfood was once considered "the gold of the Incas" due to its high nutrient content. Quinoa is gluten-free and ranges in color from pale yellow to red, brown and black.
It's important to rinse quinoa seeds well as they are naturally coated with saponin, a bitter substance that protects them against birds and other predators. Pour the quinoa in a large bowl filled with cold water and rub the seeds for a few minutes to release the saponin resin. Then put the quinoa into a fine mesh strainer and hold it under running water, rinsing until the water runs clean.
Cooked quinoa freezes well. Consider preparing extra to have on hand for quick-prep meals. Allow to cool, then place in a plastic bag, flatten and seal. Thaw in the refrigerator overnigt or for several hours.
Southwestern Quinoa Corn Salad
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 1/2 cups corn, fresh or frozen
- 1 small red onion, minced
- 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
- 1 red pepper, finely diced
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp lime juice
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (or more to taste)
- 3 scallions, minced
- 2 tbsp finely minced chives
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp Tabasco or chipotle sauce (or to taste)
- Avocado, diced (optional)
- Place quinoa in a fine mesh sieve or strainer and rinse thoroughly with cold, running water.
- Bring water to boil in a small pot.
- Add the quinoa and salt and bring to boil again.
- Cover and reduce heat to low for 15 minutes.
- Turn of heat and keep the pot covered for an additional 5 minutes.
- Strain off any excess liquid and spread the quinoa out on a tray to cool while preparing the other ingredients (or make ahead of time and let cool).
- Steam or lightly sauté corn until just tender. Cool to room temperature.
- Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and gently toss.
- Season with additional salt, pepper or hot sauce to taste
- Serve with fresh lime wedges and top with diced avocado (optional).
Adapted from rebar: modern food cookbook.