I call this dish quinoa salsa and it is a favorite of mine. I usually make a large batch and split it into storage containers to bring for work lunches. Sometimes I just eat it plain with a spoon, sometimes I splurge with some tortilla chips, and I’ve even eaten it using lettuce leaves as wraps. Yummy!
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a grain native to the Andean Region of South America. The cool thing about quinoa is that not only is it high in protein, it is actually a complete protein—meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids our bodies require. It is also a great source of magnesium, manganese, folate, and phosphorus. This grain may be especially valuable to those who suffer from migraine headaches, diabetes, and atherosclerosis. You can usually find it in the grocery store in the same isle as the rice and pasta. At the Harmony Co-op in Bemidji you can buy it in bulk or in packages.
-1 cup quinoa
-2 cups water
-½ cup onion, diced
-Half red bell pepper, diced
-Half green bell pepper, diced
-1 large garlic clove, minced
-¾ cup zucchini, diced (optional)
-1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
-1 can petite diced tomatoes
-½ cup of your favorite jarred salsa (optional, you could used more canned diced tomatoes)
-2 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
-¼ tsp chili powder
-Juice and zest of one lime
You want to rinse and drain quinoa before you cook it. This will remove some of the grain residue and prevent a bitter flavor. Boil water and add rinsed quinoa. Simmer for 20-25 minutes or until water is absorbed and germ ring appears. As it cooks, the quinoa germ separates from the kernel, appearing as little white rings. When you see them, the rings are evidence that the grain is fully cooked.
Meanwhile sauté garlic, onion, peppers, and zucchini in extra virgin olive oil in large skillet. Add chili powder. Add quinoa once vegetables are cooked (zucchini should be soft, but not mushy). Add can of petite diced tomatoes with juice, black beans, salsa, cilantro, lime juice, and lime zest. Allow to simmer until ingredients are warmed through.