I had this dish for the first time at a Fourth of July BBQ and it sat kind of unassumingly in the corner of a table – way back behind the burgers, dogs, and beer.
Only after close inspection did I realize that it was many of my favorite things smashed together: quinoa plus standard tex-mex ingredients.
I’m not entirely sure who brought the dish to the party and I’m sure I didn’t follow the same recipe as they did because I just made it up as I went. But it has all the same pieces, is very tasty, and works great for a side dish or for weekday lunches!
1) Cook quinoa according to package. Most likely this will involve rinsing quinoa and adding it to 3 cups of simmering water (for 1 1/2 cups dried quinoa). Bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Kill the heat and let it sit and steam for ten minutes. Then fluff with a fork.
2) Dice all veggies paying special attention to dice jalapenos, onion, and cilantro into fine bits.
3) Stir together veggies with quinoa. Season with salt and pepper and spritz with lime juice.
4) Serve immediately or chill and keep in the fridge for 4-5 days.
I’m starting to think that quinoa is getting so expensive just because people are learning that it might be the easiest grain to cook.
Once you cook it a few times, it becomes really hard to mess up (although I have managed to do so).
You should always check on the packaging for your specific quinoa as they might vary a bit, but you will probably have to rinse the quinoa under cold water and then add it to simmering water in a 2-to-1 (water-to-quinoa) ratio.
Cover it and let it simmer for about 15 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Then kill the heat and let it steam for ten minutes. During this whole time, don’t stir the stuff or uncover it. Just let it do it’s thing.
Once it has steamed, then just fluff it with a fork and it should be light and fluffy and wonderful.
The veggies in this salad should be pretty familiar to any Tex-Mex lover.
Be sure to dice the jalapeno and onion very finely and remove the seeds from the jalapeno if you don’t want it to be too spicy.
In my first try at this dish, I used way too much cilantro. It completely overpowered everything else so I cut down on it pretty substantially in the recipe.
A little cilantro goes a long way and in the below photo you will an example of a LOT of cilantro.
Honestly, it’ll probably take you about as long to chop the veggies as it takes the quinoa to cook so it’s a well-timed dish.
Then just stir the veggies and quinoa together.
Once everything is mixed well, add in the avocado, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, some cumin and red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper.
While you are seasoning it, be sure to taste it and adjust it to your liking.
You can eat this dish right away as a side dish. It’s fantastic slightly warm.
Of course, the real beauty of it is that it keeps really well and makes a great lunch for the week.
It will keep fine in the fridge for 3-4 days, but after that it starts to get a bit gross.
Just remember that if you are intending to store it for 4 days that all of the flavors intensify as it sits in the fridge. Namely, the cilantro and onion will start to completely overpower other stuff in the salad.
It’s a great salad though and has filling and wonderful flavors.
Honestly, I could eat this as a side dish to enchiladas or tacos instead of the standard beans and rice.
Just add this to my ever-growing list of reasons why quinoa is quin-wonderful.