23 July 2010

Quinoa Lime Salad with Tomatoes, Corn and Black Beans

Last night I participated in my first Somerville Road Runners Cook-Off. My running club does these contests seasonally and this summer's theme was "Summer Side-Off" -- entrants must prepare a cold side dish suitable for a summertime barbecue. My thoughts immediately turned to a cold quinoa salad. Quinoa (pronounced 'keen-wah') is a flower/seed similar to couscous and has been popular in South America since ancient times (it was the meal of choice for Incan armies). A very versitile superfood with a nutty flavor, quinoa is a complete protein containing all eight essential amino acids, is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and lucky for me, is naturally gluten-free. I consulted many recipes and brainstormed flavor combinations to achieve maximum refreshment and satisfaction (it was being judged by hot and hungry runners, after all). Although my recipe was good enough to place third in the contest (yay me!), feel free to adapt/adjust ratios and ingredients to your preferences or what's on hand -- also tastes great with feta cheese, peppers, onions or scallions in place of shallots, garlic, lemon, shrimp and so on. Happy eating!

Quinoa Lime Salad with Tomatoes, Corn and Black Beans
  • 2 teaspoons grated lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked to package directions
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 medium ears of corn, cooked and off the cob
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup shallots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Whisk together lime zest, lime juice, butter, oil, sugar with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Cook quinoa on stovetop according to package directions. Add cooked quinoa to lime dressing until fully absorbed, then mix in remaining vegetable ingredients. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve cold.

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