Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Hodgepodge 122/365 - Quinoa

A few years ago I started writing for UC Berkeley's College of Natural Resources' quarterly magazine, Breakthroughs. My first assignment was a profile of a quinoa distributor, Sergio Núñez de Arco. He's an interesting, outgoing fellow, and very dedicated to the Altiplano farmers of his native Bolivia. (You can read the story and see a video clip about Sergio's company, Andean Naturals, here.)

The other week I visited a friend in San Francisco who prepared a delicious quinoa salad. It was something of a revelation for me, since quinoa is not part of my collection of staples. On Sunday we hosted our second Indivisible group meeting, and I made a quinoa salad as my contribution to the potluck. I know one can throw all sorts of cut-up ingredients together to make a fine salad, but I followed a recipe. It was very good, and quick. I will make it (or some variation on it) again, for sure.

Here it is (with my addition of feta cheese; you can also add chunks of chicken or turkey):

Zesty Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 limes, juiced
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or more to taste
1 1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
5 green onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1/2—3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

1. Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender and water has been absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
2. Whisk olive oil, lime juice, cumin, 1 tsp salt, and red pepper flakes together in a bowl.
3. Combine quinoa, tomatoes, black beans, and green onions together in a bowl. Pour dressing over quinoa mixture; toss to coat. Stir in cilantro and feta; season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or chill in refrigerator.

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