We tried quinoa before, but I will chalk our indifference to chef's error. It just wasn't spectacular. I take full responsibility, but am not easily discouraged in the kitchen. While cleaning the cupboards last week, I found the half used box and in my efforts to use that we buy decided to give it a try again. The recipe search began last week and I thought I had a winner.
This recipe had a very clean and fresh taste with the lime flavorings. It was fairly quick to make, even with all of the chopping. I did take some short cuts - like using pre-washed quinoa.
For the side, Jeremy made pita chips by crisping pita bread in the oven and we had our favorite hummus.
So, what is quinoa (KEEN-wah)? This is where my plant geek side comes out. It is like a grain, but all of my research says that it is actually the seed of a plant related to spinach. It is a really good source of protein and is reported to be a better protein because of the amino acids. There are a lot of other really good things in quinoa and it's one of those food you feel like earned you a gold star for eating well.
Tonight - two gold stars - one for being good for you and one for being a good tasting meal!
Black bean and tomato quinoa
2 teaspoons grated lime zest
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup quinoa
1 (14- to 15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 medium tomatoes, diced
4 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Whisk together lime zest and juice, butter, oil, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Wash quinoa in 3 changes of cold water in a bowl, draining in a sieve each time. Cook quinoa in a medium pot of boiling salted water (1 tablespoon salt for 2 quarts water), uncovered, until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Drain in sieve, then set sieve in same pot with 1 inch of simmering water (water should not touch bottom of sieve). Cover quinoa with a folded kitchen towel, then cover sieve with a lid (don't worry if lid doesn't fit tightly) and steam over medium heat until tender, fluffy, and dry, about 10 minutes. Remove pot from heat and remove lid. Let stand, still covered with towel, 5 minutes.
Add quinoa to dressing and toss until dressing is absorbed, then stir in remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste.