Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Citrus Quinoa Salad

Winter is winding down (or, if you live in Texas, it's been sporadically winding down for the last three months), and for that reason, I would like to celebrate citrus in all its glory! I never really think of citrus as winter produce because it's so darn refreshing in the summer (and anytime, really), but lemons, oranges, and their zesty companions peak in the winter. That being said, my next few posts will be devoted to citrus while the time (and the fruit) is still ripe.

 I clearly have been on a quinoa-kick lately, but I really wanted to share this because it is so healthy, and tastes fabulous!! This salad is a wonderful combination of sweet and savory, and it has just the right amount of acid to wake up your palate. It keeps well in the refrigerator, and is a great go-to snack or side to keep around. Serve with another healthy protein (may I suggest my Cilantro-Lemon Shrimp?), and you have such a wonderfully healthy and bright meal!

For the Health Conscious
* Citrus is also a great approach for year-roud healthy eating because it is such a great way to add flavor to a meal without any fat or calories (the same with spice!). Keep around some lemons and limes, and garnish before serving -- it will instantly bring a dull dish to life!


* 1 cup dry quinoa
* 3/4 cup red onion, chopped (1 small red onion will suffice)
* 1-2 orange(s), peeled, segmented, and cut into bite-sized pieces (see: How To Segment an Orange)
* 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
* 1 cup fresh or frozen corn (thawed if frozen)
* 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
* 1-2 avocados, chopped (not pictured)

Lemon Vinaigrette
* 2-3 lemons, juiced (enough for 1/4 - 1/3 cup juice, depending how zesty you like it)
* 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
* 2 tablespoons honey (agave nectar or white sugar work well as substitutes)
* 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
* 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
* 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
* Salt and pepper, to taste

* Cook quinoa according to directions (Generally: 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa. Bring water and quinoa to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the water is completely absorbed.)
* Set the quinoa aside to cool before adding the vinaigrette and mixing in other ingredients (otherwise it tends to get a little mushy).
* Gently stir in the next five ingredients.
* Note about the avocado: you can stir it into the salad at this point, however, I prefer waiting to serve it alongside the salad -- it will keep better without the avocado pre-mixed.

Lemon Vinaigrette
* VERY easy -- combine all ingredients in a bowl, and whisk to combine OR add all ingredients to a salad dressing jar and shake to combine.

* Pour the lemon vinaigrette over your salad, and gently mix to combine:
* Season with salt and pepper, and ENJOY!!!
 (Note: it's always good to give the vinaigrette a little time to work its magic before serving.)

1 comment:

  1. quinoa, beans, and corn, oh my! sorry, that doesn't work as well, but either way, I want some quinoa now!

    Have you tried black beans, quinoa, and salsa? Good stuff!