Monday, December 6, 2010

Quinoa Salad

~ Shot from a Cannon ~

HotDog and I were invited to a holiday party, which was held this past weekend. It was a bring-a-dish-to-share affair, full of new friends we had yet to meet. I was in a dilemma to find a fascinating dish that would travel well, was not bound by "serve hot" instruction, and looked festive. I was off to the races digging through my Someday-I-Will-Try-This pile of recipe printouts and clippings.

The recipe below is what we took to the party, and I am still tickled by the bombardment of requests I received for it. I mean to tell ya, this recipe was in demand. One new friend in particular beseeched me to get it to her in time to make for another party she was attending this coming weekend. Henceforth, this recipe will not have photos of the step-by-step instructions until I can make it again. As if out of a cannon, it shot right from Experimental to Keeper.

A few added bonuses: It's healthy. It's vegetarian. It's gluten-free. It's a dish for all seasons.

Quinoa (KEEN-wah) Salad
1 - 12 oz. box of quinoa
2 Tablespoons chili powder
2 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth if you prefer)
2 - 15 oz. cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
2 - 14 oz. bags of Hanover frozen white shoe peg corn, thawed
1 1/2 cups green onion, sliced thin
1 1/2 cups red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice (juice from about 1 1/2 lemons)
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon sea salt
3/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro -or- 1/4 cup dried cilantro
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1-2 Tablespoons canola oil

Heat about 1-2 Tablespoons of canola oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add quinoa and chili powder, stirring to evenly coat the grain with oil and chili powder. Toast quinoa by stirring until the grain begins to turn a nice golden brown and gives off a nice toasty-smelling fragrance (about 5-7 minutes). Add broth. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes, then remove from heat and let sit for 15 minutes so all the broth is absorbed by the quinoa. Spread on a cookie sheet to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, and sea salt. Add cilantro and oregano. Stir in the black beans, corn, green onions, red pepper, and quinoa. Refrigerate for 30 minutes (or as long as overnight). Stir before serving cold.

Serves approximately 16 -- great for potlucks, parties, and leftovers. This recipe can easily be halved for small gatherings, too.


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