Southwestern Quinoa Salad

I make this dish weekly.  Pete loves to bring it to work for a morning snack to hold him over and I love a big bowl of it for lunch.  Tonight I put it on top of some guacamole and made a burrito which was very tasty.  I’ve also done this before with some leftover shredded chicken and that was great as well.  You can add whatever you like to this recipe.  I always add cherry tomatoes, but diced avocado, corn, or chickpeas would be a nice addition too.  I also prefer to use a shallot instead of green onion.

Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Red Bell Pepper, and Cilantro.  Recipe courtesy of Kalyn’s Kitchen.
Makes 4-6 servings

Salad Ingredients: 
3/4 cup quinoa (rinsed if needed, check the package)
1 1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp. salt
1 red bell pepper, chopped into small dice
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Dressing Ingredients:
2 T fresh-squeezed lime juice
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground ancho chile pepper(or use regular chile powder if you don’t have Ancho)
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions:

Check the quinoa package to see if it needs to be rinsed (it often does) and rinse in a fine-mesh strainer if needed.  Combine quinoa, water, and salt and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed.  Fluff quinoa with a fork and let it cool while you prep other ingredients.

Drain the beans into a colander placed in the sink and rinse well with cold water, until no more foam appears.  Let beans drain until they are quite dry (or pat dry with paper towels if you want to speed it up.)

Cut out the stem and remove seeds from the red bell pepper and cut into very small dice (about the size of the black beans.)  Slice the green onions into thin slices and wash, dry, and chop the cilantro.

When the quinoa is fairly cool, combine quinoa, black beans, diced red bell pepper, and sliced green onion in a bowl.  Add enough dressing to moisten all the ingredients.  (You probably won’t need all the dressing, but save the extra to stir into any leftover salad that’s been in the fridge.)  Gently stir in the chopped cilantro and serve.

This keeps very well in the fridge for several days.  The salad absorbs the dressing when it’s refrigerated, so it’s best with a little more dressing stirred in when you’re eating the leftover salad.

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