Wow! Last Wednesday was the first day of Fall and apparently for once the weather in the good old State of Virginia agrees with the calendar. Temperatures around here have been just glorious. The humidity has chilled out and the days are warm but the nights are just starting to get a bit of chill to them. I for one could not be happier, though it did seem a bit sudden. Usually summer lingers on around here for quite some time. I won’t say anything more about it though because I don’t want to speak too soon and “word” it. (Yup…I sure did word it. I wrote the last sentence about the great Fall weather over the weekend. On Monday the temperature crept back up to 80°, and was accompanied by remarkable Virginia swamp-like humidity. I knew it was too good to be true!) I’ll just say, here’s one more great summer recipe which should carry over nicely into Fall…Spicy Summer Tex-Mex Quinoa Salad.
This salad can be served room temperature or even chilled if the mercury starts to creep up again. And it has a bit of a spicy kick to warm you up a bit if the chillier temperatures persist. If you have any leftover Spicy Grilled Corn from those Zucchini, Spicy Grilled Corn & Cheese Pancakes that I told you about a couple of weeks ago, this is a great way to put it to good use! The husband and I usually enjoy this dish on Meatless Mondays, and I serve it over a bed of lettuce. It gives it a taco salad-y kind of vibe. Another option, if you were feeling a bit more carnivorous, would be to add in some spicy chicken or grilled steak. And although we love it as a main dish, it would also be great as a side next to a big old burrito, taco or enchilada. So there you have it… all the healthful benefits of quinoa and all the fresh spicy tastes of summer. What a winner!
Spicy Summer Tex-Mex Quinoa Salad
recipe adapted from: Once Upon a Chef
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 cup pre-washed quinoa (if not washed, follow package instructions for rinsing)
- 1-2/3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved or 1 cup chopped tomatoes, from 2 medium tomatoes
- 1-1/4 cups Spicy Grilled Corn – recipe to follow (can use canned corn if you don’t have fresh)
- 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed
- 2 scallions, white and green parts, finely sliced
- 1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons lime juice, from 1 large lime
- 1 avocado, cut into bite-sized chunks
- Cotija cheese, crumbled
- shredded iceberg lettuce (to serve Quinoa Salad over – if you desire)
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minutes or so. Add the spices to the onion/garlic mixture and stir to combine
Add the quinoa to the onion/spice mixture and continue cooking, stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Cover the pan tightly with a lid, turn the heat down to low and simmer for 17-20 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is cooked. Transfer the cooked quinoa to a mixing bowl and chill in the refrigerator.
When the quinoa is cool, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, tomatoes, Spicy Grilled Corn, black beans, scallions, jalapeno, cilantro, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and lime juice. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Right before serving, scatter the avocado chunks and Cotija Cheese over top.
Spicy Grilled Corn
- 3-4 ears of fresh corn in husk
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 3/4 tsp Kosher salt
- 1 tsp light brown sugar
- ¼ tsp chili powder
Combine olive oil, lime juice, garlic, salt, brown sugar and chili powder in small bowl and whisk together.
Peel back the corn husks, discarding all but a couple inner layers. Remove corn silk, then baste with dressing, and recover corn with remaining husk.
Grill on med-high for 20-25 minutes, turning 3-4 times during cooking time.
Remove the corn from grill and allow to cool a few minutes. Once it has cooled enough to handle, cut off stem end, place the flat cut end on bottom of large bowl, and use a corn zipper to strip the kernels from the cob. Or if you don’t have a zipper, run a small sharp knife down the length of the cob, slicing off kernels.
Spicy Summer Tex-Mex Quinoa Salad brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)