Sunday, June 20, 2010

Quinoa Black Bean Salad with Roasted Corn and Fresh Avocado

I have a surplus of quinoa in my cupboard at the moment, and I have put myself on grocery lock-down, meaning I am not allowed to buy any more food until I have eaten what is in my kitchen already.  I am preparing to move out of my house, and - in fact - out of Swaziland in a matter of 2 weeks, and I can't stand the thought of wasting the food I've already spent money on.

So, I surveyed my cabinets.  Quinoa.  A can of sweet corn.  Half a bag of black beans.  Done and done.

This tasted even more fantastic with slices of avocado mixed in, but it was also very good on its own.  It's a simple salad, thrown together, and it's best chilled overnight after the flavors have had a chance to develop nicely. 

Quinoa Black Bean Salad with Roasted Corn and Fresh Avocado

1/2 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cup water (or vegetable or chicken-flavored broth if you have it), divided
1 15-oz can roasted corn
4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 medium green pepper, diced
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans
1/2 large onion, diced
4 tsp. garlic paste
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. garlic powder (only if the garlic taste is not enough for you)
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. onion flakes
2 - 3 tsp. salt
1/2 - 1 tsp. pepper (to taste)
2 - 4 tbsp. lime juice (from concentrate) or juice of 2 fresh limes
Fresh avocado slices (optional)
Salsa (optional)

Put the quinoa with one cup of the water or broth into a pot and a pinch of salt and cook according to directions on package.  When done, set aside. 

Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Drain the can of corn well and place in a large bowl. Drizzle about 1 - 2 tbsp. of olive oil and 1 - 2 tsp. salt and toss to coat.  Spread across the baking sheet and place in the oven.  Stir the corn every 10 minutes and cook until it has been roasted and turns dark, about 30 - 40 minutes.  When done, set aside.

Meanwhile, place the onions in a small saucepan with the olive oil.  Cook until translucent, about 5 minutes, and then add the garlic and stir to coat.  Cook for another 2 - 3 minutes and then add the chili powder, garlic powder, basil, oregano, onion flakes, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper.  Stir to coat and cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Add the black beans and stir to coat.  Add the remaining 1/2 cup water or broth, stir, and let simmer for 5 - 10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.

Place the cooked quinoa into a large bowl or pot and add the roasted corn, diced green peppers, and the black bean and onion mixture.  Toss to coat and season with salt and pepper according to taste.

Serve with slices of fresh avocado and salsa, if desired.  You could also wrap this salad in a crepe or wrap for more of a sandwich experience.

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