Quinoa (Recipe: black bean, quinoa and red pepper salad with honey-lime vinaigrette)
I love mnemonics, the little tricks that help us remember the little things we always forget.
I before E, except after C.
Every good boy deserves fudge (the keys on a music scale). HOMES (the five Great Lakes). And my favorite mnemonic for clearing the paper mounds off my desk: Ohio (only handle it once).
Here's one I made up just for you. I'm keen on quinoa. But it's not just a way to remember how to pronounce this South American grain (KEEN-wah); I really love the nutty, light, couscous-like texture, and how it adapts to the flavors that surround it.
In the past, I haven't always been successful making quinoa on the stove top (I'm not great at stove top rice, either). I've overcooked and undercooked, and I'm pretty sure that picking quinoa off my stove after the pot boils over is not something I need to do ever again.
Now, thanks to Karina of Gluten-Free Goddess, I'm making quinoa the easy way: in a rice cooker. No muss, no fuss, and it's ready in 20 minutes.
What is quinoa?
The seed of the Chenopodium quinoa plant, related to beets, chard and spinach; though it's considered one of the "Ancient grains", and cooks like a grain, it's not a grain at all.
How/where to store:
In the cupboard at room temperature, in a glass jar with an airtight lid, for up to one year.
More facts about quinoa, and ingredient photos, on The Perfect Pantry:
Quinoa (Recipe: quinoa salad with tomato, feta and parsley)
Black bean, quinoa and red pepper salad with honey-lime vinaigrette
With cooked black beans in the freezer, and quinoa made in the rice cooker, this dish comes together in minutes. It would be perfect for a picnic or potluck (double or triple the recipe), as a side dish to grilled salmon, or on its own for lunch. Serves 4-6.
1 cup quinoa
1 can black beans, drained, or 2 cups cooked black beans
1 red bell pepper (or 1/2 red pepper, 1/2 orange or yellow pepper), diced
1 tsp minced jalapeño (optional)
1 scallion, finely chopped
2 tsp honey or agave nectar
Juice of 1/2 lime
2 tsp rice vinegar
2 tsp canola or vegetable oil
Pinch of salt, or as needed
Place quinoa in a rice cooker with 2 cups of water; turn the cooker on and let it do its thing until it switches to "warm", approximately 20 minutes. Or, place quinoa and 2 cups of water in a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Bring to the boil over high heat, then reduce to simmer and cook, covered, for 20 minutes or until water is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy.
Add cooked quinoa to a mixing bowl with black beans, red pepper, jalapeño and chopped scallion.
In a small jar, combine honey, lime juice, rice vinegar and canola oil. Add a pinch of salt. Put the lid on the jar and shake vigorously to emulsify the dressing. Taste, adjust seasoning as needed (it should be a bit tart), and pour on the quinoa mixture. Toss to distribute the dressing evenly.
If you're not serving right away, toss the salad again before serving, and adjust seasoning (the dressing will absorb into the quinoa, and the salad might need an additional bit of moisture if it sits for a while).
Other recipes that use quinoa:
Quinoa pilaf, from Simply Recipes
Double broccoli quinoa, from 101 Cookbooks
Red quinoa salad, from Tea & Cookies
Quinoa salad with arugula, asparagus and avocado, from Cooking with Amy
Baby artichoke heart quinoa risotto with shrimp and Meyer lemon pesto, from Closet Cooking