Living Well

Quinoa dinner!

Posted on: July 26, 2012

Quinoa is an ancient grain native to South America. Its nutty taste and chewy texture make it a great alternative to other grains in salads and soups or as a side dish. Here it pairs perfectly with other South American produce, such as corn and black beans.
I like the way the Paprika gives the Quinoa a beautiful saffron colour.

Quinoa Salad with chicken and Black Beans.

2 tbsp (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp (5 mL) paprika
1 cup (250 mL) quinoa
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced (about 12 oz/375 g)
1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin
1 tsp (5 mL) ground coriander
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper
3 green onions, sliced
2 plum tomatoes, diced
1/2 sweet red pepper, diced
2 cups (500 mL) cooked or canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup (250 mL) corn kernels
1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped fresh coriander
2 tbsp (30 mL) lime juice

In saucepan, heat half of the oil over medium heat; cook garlic and paprika, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in quinoa. Add 2 cups (500 mL) water; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until no liquid remains and quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in large skillet, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat; saute chicken, cumin, ground coriander, salt, pepper and cayenne until browned, about 5 minutes.

Add green onions, tomatoes, red pepper, black beans and corn; cook over medium heat, stirring, until red pepper is tender-crisp and chicken is no longer pink inside, about 5 minutes. Transfer to large bowl. Add quinoa, coriander and lime juice; toss to combine. (Make-ahead: Let cool; refrigerate in airtight container for up to 24 hours.)

Red Quinoa Salad with Chicken and Black Beans: Replace quinoa with red quinoa. Increase cooking time to 20 to 25 minutes.




Quinoa and Barley Salad.

¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
2/3 cup (150 mL) barley
2/3 cup (150 mL) quinoa, rinsed
1 tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup (125 mL) each finely diced carrots, celery and onion
½ cup (125 mL) each finely diced sweet red pepper and zucchini
½ cup (125 mL) finely diced cucumber
1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh mint
1 tsp (5 mL) chopped fresh thyme

Ginger Vinaigrette:
¼ cup (50 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp (25 mL) white wine vinegar
1 tsp (5 mL) grated gingerroot (or ¼ tsp/1mL ground ginger)
1 tsp (5 mL) Dijon mustard

In sauce, bring 1 1/3 cups (325 mL) water and half of the salt to boil; add barley. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until tender and liquid is absorbed, about 40 minutes; let cool.

Meanwhile, in sauce, bring 1 cup (250 mL) water and remaining salt to boil; add quinoa. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until tender and liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes; let cool.

Meanwhile, in skillet, heat oil over medium heat; cook carrot, celery, onion, red pepper and zucchini, stirring occasionally, until tender-crisp, about 5 minutes. Let cool.

Ginger Vinaigrette:
In small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, ginger, mustard, salt and pepper.

In large bowl, combine barley, quinoa, vegetable mixture, cucumber, parsley, mint and thyme; pour vinaigrette over top and toss to coat. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.)

Most quinoa you find in the grocery store has been washed and processed before packaging to remove the saponin, the soapy and bitter resin that can remain after harvesting. But because different manufacturers have different processes, it’s never a bad idea to give it a rinse yourself before you cook it to ensure you’ve gotten rid of that bitter taste.


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