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Yoga and Quinoa

My sister, the graphic designer, the yoga-student, the vegetarian, the concert-obsessed, does not cook. She can heat leftovers or make herself a bagel or cheese sandwich or burrito, but if it requires more than five minutes of prep time, she gives up. So many sad little recipes wanting to share their nutritious, delicious flavor combinations with her, but they remain only pretty photos and lists of ingredients, never to experience the real world.

So, when her yoga instructor announced to the class that their final would include a potluck of vegetarian dishes, guess who little sister ran to? Great guess, her big sister, the chef and professional home kitchen-messer-upper. She asked me to make a quinoa salad I prepared for her friend’s wedding a year ago. She promised to in return do the dishes, and she did not go back on her word. She returned from the yoga class with a huge grin stretched across her face and demanded that I add that recipe to my blog, as several people had requested the recipe. So, finally, here is the much requested recipe for quinoa and black bean salad with jalapeño vinaigrette.

Quinoa Salad with Jalapeno Vinaigrette

1 cup quinoa (I used red, but regular quinoa works just as well)
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, cleaned and small diced
3/4 cup Jalapeno Vinaigrette
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 green onions, chopped
1 cup halved grape tomatoes
1 Tbsp minced cilantro

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a generous amount of salt to the water. Add the quinoa to the boiling water, reduce heat to medium high and boil for 8 to 10 minutes, or until cooked through. Stir occasionally. I under cook it slightly because it will soak up the dressing and soften more over time. Not a fan of mushy quinoa! The grains will puff up and be tender, but they should still have a bite to them if cooked properly. Drain the quinoa well, then return it to the pot it was cooked in and add the vinaigrette, black beans green onions and chopped bell pepper. Mix well and refrigerate, uncovered, until cooled. Add the tomatoes and cilantro, stir to combine, and add salt and pepper to taste. I like this salad a little saucy, so I sometimes stir in a little more vinaigrette before I serve it, but that is just a personal preference. My sister prefers it drier! I also like to add corn, but my sister doesn’t like it, so I left it out. Feel free to experiment and add other ingredients, that is the best part of cooking!

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