Originally hailed as the "super grain of the future," quinoa sure has lived up to its nickname as it has become the top healthy alternative to rice and pasta. But it's due to more than just the fact that it is lower in carbohydrates—quinoa is nutrient-packed and higher in unsaturated fats. It also has more protein than any other grain and is considered a complete protein since it contains all eight essential amino acids. Quinoa is also gluten-free.
Another benefit is its cooking time—it takes about half the time to cook as regular rice, and the tiny off-white colored beads expand to four times their original volume, making a little go a long way. The result is somewhat bland which is the perfect blank canvas to create a variety of dishes with a full spectrum of flavors. This colorful southwestern-style quinoa salad is a great vegetarian dish or delicious served with grilled chicken, pork or shrimp for a complete meal.
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen corn
- One 15-oz. can low-sodium black beans
- 1 cup grape tomatoes (halved)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1 jalapeno pepper (finely chopped)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Juice of 1 large lime or 2 small ones (about 1/4 cup)
- 1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. cumin
Rinse quinoa thoroughly in a colander to rid it of its bitter coating.
Place quinoa in a 2-quart saucepan with the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy. Allow to cool.
Place cooled cooked quinoa in a salad bowl with the corn, black beans, tomatoes, red onion, jalapeno pepper, and cilantro.
In a small bowl, whisk lime juice, extra virgin olive oil, and cumin. Drizzle over quinoa salad, then toss.