Monday, March 9, 2009

Meatless Monday: Southwestern Quinoa Salad & Sangria

If you've never had quinoa, you're missing out, people. Not only is it really versatile in terms of what kinds of dishes you can make with it, it's considered a 'super food' and a 'complete' protein with nutritional value that easily beats out other grains. I find it a nice substitute for rice or couscous, have used it as a base for lots of dishes and a main ingredient in salad, and hope to try it in soup sometime soon. This particular recipe is a new favorite.

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

The recipe doesn't suggest to do this, but I enjoyed using the lettuce leaves to make little wraps with the salad as I ate it. You might consider trying that too. I also used vegetable broth instead of water when cooking the quinoa. I found it enhanced the flavor of the dish just a bit. And, of course, as usual, I skipped the cilantro, but you obviously don't have to.

Another substitution you can consider is using a little cayenne pepper instead of jalapeƱo chili. I ended up having to do that because I didn't find out until it was too late that my chili had gone bad and was unusable. If you decide to do the same, I would recommend incorporating the cayenne pepper with the lime juice, oil, and cumin at the beginning so it gets distributed evenly throughout the dish when you mix it all up. And, remember, a little cayenne goes a long way, . . . but you know you're heat tolerance better than me!

We decided to have sangria with our salad and it turned out to be a fantastic pairing. If you're interested, I highly recommend trying the recipe we picked up at a Hip Cooks cooking class -

2 bottles Charles Shaw shiraz (a.k.a. Two-Buck Chuck)
3 oranges, thinly sliced
3 limes, thinly sliced
½ a bottle of mango passion fruit juice (or other tropical juice)
A dash of Citronge

Combine all ingredients and muddle.

(You can find quinoa, Two-Buck Chuck, and mango passion fruit juice at Trader Joe's.)

Got any favorite vegetarian or vegan recipes?? Please share!

Other Meatless Monday posts

No comments: