QUINOA TACO SALAD

From Debbie and Jim Nicholson

Serves 12

Quinoa (Keen-wa) is a tiny, bead-shaped ivory-color grain, loved by the ancient Incas. It swells to 4 times its volume when cooked.

1 cup quinoa
1 tablespoon olive oil  
1 red onion, chopped
3cloves garlic, chopped
1 ½ teaspoons  cumin
½ teaspoon  oregano
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
Dash cayenne pepper
½  each red, yellow and green peppers, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained, rinsed and drained again
¾ cup diced tomatoes
2 limes, 1 juiced and 1 sliced
6 to 8 ounces baby spinach, stems removed
1 bunch cilantro, stems removed
1/3 cup cheddar or feta cheese
1 avocado, diced

Cook quinoa according to package instructions.

Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat; add onion and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, until translucent and tender. Add garlic, cumin, oregano, chili powder, cayenne and peppers; sauté an additional 2 minutes.  

Remove from heat. Stir in the black beans, tomatoes and the juice of 1 lime. Stir in quinoa.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  

Chop spinach and line the bottom of a bowl, top with the quinoa mixture, cheese and diced avocado and chopped cilantro. Garnish with lime slices.

Variation:  If desired, add 1 ½ cups roasted corn, cut from cob, and/or 4-ounce can sliced ripe olives, drained, to quinoa mixture.

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