I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on the (looks) of my toasted quinoa salad via Instagram. It’s a huge hit at my house, and if you like quinoa, you will likely appreciate this recipe. I first discovered the recipe for this salad on another blog called Alosha’s Kitchen, which you can visit at aloshaskitchen.blogspot.com. I made some tweaks to her recipe, so what you see posted here isn’t an exact replica.
For the salad:
1 1/2 cups quinoa
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears) [Here’s one difference. The quinoa salad you see pictured on my blog doesn’t include corn.]
1 cup diced (1/2 inch) cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup thin-sliced (1/4 inch) scallions (white and green parts)
1/2 cup feta cheese [Omit to keep the dish vegetarian/vegan]
For the dressing:
2 teaspoons ground cumin
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh lime juice, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon finely chopped seeded jalapeno pepper, plus more to taste [My quinoa salad doesn’t include jalapeño, either.]
1 garlic clove, grated
1 teaspoon coarse salt
For the garnish:
1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and diced (1/2 inch)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
Rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer under cold water for at least 45 seconds. Shake the strainer to remove as much water as possible.
Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the rinsed quinoa and cook, stirring, over medium heat until it is light golden brown, which takes about 10 minutes. Add 2 cups water to the quinoa, and bring to a boil. Cook, covered, over medium-low heat until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is translucent, which takes about 18 to 20 minutes.
Let stand, uncovered, until cool, about 10 minutes.
As the quinoa cools, you can start to make the dressing. Sprinkle the cumin in a small skillet and toast over medium heat, stirring, for about 3 minutes. *Tip: When roasting seasonings, one key to knowing that it is ready is when you can smell it.
Remove from heat. When the skillet is cool to the touch, add the oil, lime juice, garlic and salt. Transfer to a large bowl, and whisk to blend.
Add the cooled quinoa, cheese, tomatoes and scallions to the dressing, and toss to blend.
Spoon the salad onto a large platter, and garnish with the avocado and cilantro.