Friday, November 8, 2013

Chili-Lime Quinoa

My day can only vastly improve after a big bowl of quinoa that has been flecked by black beans, red pepper, carrot, onion and cilantro. Which has been flavored with smokey cumin and chipotle in adobo. Then tanged up with lime juice and smoothed out with olive oil. Yes, you can have this life, too when you welcome Chili-Lime Quinoa into your day.  
 
Hello freshness. 
 
Hello smokeness. 

My recipe calls for a lotta spice. You might want to tailor to your liking. I added one whole teaspoon of chili powder, but I think it could be dialed back to a 1/2 teaspoon. You might want to increase the cumin if you want more smoke flavor. As for the chipotle in adobo I added a healthy tablespoon...probably 2 tablespoons and I like it that way. But for the faint of heart, you may want to proceed with caution. 

If you're wondering where to find chipotle in adobo it's usually in a well stocked grocery's International Aisle. You'll have to buy a whole can, so go ahead and throw the whole contents of the can into the food processor or blender and give it a good whiz. Once done, throw the sauce into a ziploc bag and freeze laying flat. When you need a tablespoon or two, just break off a chunk from the frozen block. It will last in the freezer for atleast a year (more like 4, in my kitchen). 
 
My quinoa quiver was inspired by an Auntie who shared a fancy-pants grocery deli salad at a family pot-luck this summer that I just had to create in my own kitchen. We served it with burgers and watermelon, oh yeah, I want to go to there. 

Make sure to thoroughly chill your salad before serving. The flavors don't really come alive until it's all cold and frigid...I don't why. It's quiona science. You can serve this salad as a light lunch, or with some simply grilled chicken or steak. It's full of flavor, texture, protein and healthy fiber. Make it a quinoa kinda day. 


Chili-Lime Quinoa
serves 4 to 6 as a main, up to 12 as a side

Cook Time: 25 minutes
Prep Time: 15 minutes

1 1/4 cup quinoa, rinsed, drained, cooked and cooled (about 4 cups cooked)
1 healthy tablespoon pureed chipotle peppers in adobo
3 limes, juiced (about 1/4 cup juice)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 red pepper, chopped coarsely
1/2 medium red onion, diced finely
1 carrot, shredded with box grater (heaping 1/2 cup)
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper 

Cook your quinoa: Rinse quinoa with cold water in a fine mesh sieve. In a heavy bottom pot with a tight fitting lid, place a 2:1 ratio of water to quinoa. I used the coffee mug below filled with quinoa, dropped that in the pot, then 2 cups of water with the same mug. Season with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, cover and bring up to a boil over high heat. Once the quinoa has come to a boil, reduce heat and simmer gently for about 18-20 minutes. Fluff and remove from heat. Cool. 

Prepare your dressing: In the bottom of a large, non-reactive mixing bowl add pureed chipotle pepper in adobo, lime juice, olive oil, chili powder, ground cumin, salt and pepper. Give that a good whisking. 

Combine salad: To the same bowl add rinsed black beans, chopped red pepper, diced red onion, shredded carrot, chopped cilantro and cooled quinoa. Give that all a gentle toss. Taste for seasoning and chill salad thoroughly before serving. 

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