Quinoa was a mystery to me until less than a year ago, as was the idea of a quinoa salad.
I didn’t even know how to say the word.
I just thought it was one of those super health foods that you had to be a super health nut to eat, and therefore I wasn’t really interested.
I know, that’s bad.
I do try to live a pretty healthy lifestyle, but I also try not to take it to the extreme. Maybe it’s because I think it would be too easy to get obsessed with it all. Maybe its because I think the exceptionally nutritious stuff might not taste as good. Maybe I don’t really want to think about it when I’m trying to maneuver my way through a barbecue bacon cheeseburger.
Someone get this girl some help.
Enter quinoa, the mystery seed.
Not quite a grain, not quite a cereal (it’s actually classified as a pseudo-cereal), but quite healthy indeed. It’s a complete protein source (which means it has a balanced set of amino acids that are essential for us), it’s high in fiber, calcium and iron, and it’s gluten-free. It seems that quinoa is kind of an overachiever. And much to my delight, it’s delicious.
Consider me a quinoa convert. Now that I have tasted, I am responsible.
So let me share with you one of my favorite ways to enjoy this pseudo-cereal.
It’s fantastic with sweet crisp corn, and I love it just like that, but for this dish I added a couple other vegetables to make it into an exciting, wonderfully fresh side salad.
It can be enjoyed warm or cold, at home or by the lake. Rather perfect.
- ½ cup uncooked quinoa
- ¾ cup sweet corn (1 cob if you are using fresh)
- ⅓ cup chopped tomato
- ¼ cup chopped onion
- 1-2 T. chopped cilantro, according to your taste
- 2 tsp. fresh lime juice
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Smoked paprika, to taste (optional)
- Crumbled feta cheese (optional)
- Olive oil
- Cook quinoa according to package instructions.
- While it’s cooking, heat a skillet over medium heat and add a swirl of olive oil. When oil is heated (1-2 minutes), add onion and cook about 1-2 minutes, until onion is starting to look translucent. Add corn and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika (if using). Turn heat up to medium-high. Cook, stirring the mixture occasionally, for about 2-3 minutes. Add tomato and lime juice and stir.
- Your quinoa should be about done at this point. Add the cooked quinoa to the skillet and stir. Add the cilantro and season to taste with additional salt, pepper and smoked paprika, if desired. Serve lukewarm or chill in fridge. If using feta, wait until salad has slightly (or completely) cooled before stirring it in.