This recipe is a standard go-to when I'm craving something a little spicy, flavorful and full of texture. It's loaded with fresh crunchy vegetables that stay crispy in the fridge and made of things I usually have on hand. The recipe is quite large so I can make it for parties or share half and still have multiple servings. I scored the most beautiful avocados recently and they really turn this simple salad into a full meal, but it's also great with chicken and fish, especially when they are grilled. (I just make a bit more of the lime dressing to marinate chicken breasts before grilling or I use it as a glaze on fish.) It's even great scooped up on tortilla chips!
Quinoa and Black Bean Salad
1 c. quinoa
½ t. salt
Place quinoa in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Let soak for an hour. Using a small screen sieve, pour out the water and rinse the quinoa in running water for 30 seconds. Put quinoa into a med. saucepan and cover with water by ½ in. Bring the quinoa and water to the boil, add ½ tsp. salt, cover saucepan and cook for 10 min., or until quinoa is tender to the bite. When tender, remove from heat and let any extra water be absorbed. Let cool and refrigerate. (Quinoa is a grain from South America. We had it for breakfast, lunch and supper in Peru. It can be expensive if you buy it packaged in small portions but I buy mine at Winco in the bulk food area and it's very inexpensive. It's dry so it stores well in the pantry.)
juice from 2 limes, measuring ¼ c.
¼ - ½ t salt
¼ t garlic powder
1 heaping teaspoon cumin
¼ - ½ t chili powder (toss in a pinch of cayenne pepper to make it spicier)
1-2 TB Honey
¼ c. olive oil
Put all ingredients except the olive oil into a med. bowl. Mix well, until honey is dissolved and incorporated into the juice. Taste and adjust any seasonings. Add the oil and whisk the dressing until emulsified.
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed well
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
¼ c. fresh cilantro, minced
After quinoa has cooled add the above ingredients and stir to mix. Add the honey-lime dressing and mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust any seasonings.
Quinoa is a very versatile grain and takes on a variety of flavors very well. I have made this salad substituting red kidney beans for black beans and used a variety of fresh vegetables, what ever I had on hand. I have also used various dressings, each citrus based, but with different flavor profiles. It is fun to mix it up.
While we are still experiencing unsettled and cold weather I like to put on a big pot of soup, something hot and delicious to warm the house and lift my spirit. This chowder is just the ticket--spicy and full of flavor--it's a big bowl of sunshine. It's a quick fix too, even if you roast your own peppers, which can be done ahead of time. I usually roast my own because I love the smell of roasting peppers and the extra heat from the oven really warms up the kitchen on an overcast, cold and crappy day. But even if you're in a rush to get something on the table, bottled peppers are pretty dang good.
Roasted Red Pepper and Corn Chowder
2 red peppers, roasted, peeled, diced*
2 TB EVOO
1 onion, diced
5 medium red or yellow potatoes, diced about 2 lbs.
2 TB butter
3 stalks celery, sliced
16 oz frozen petite corn
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 TB red chili pepper
6 c vegetable or chicken stock
7 oz can, diced green chilies
14 oz can evaporated milk or 14 oz cream
cilantro, washed and minced for garnish
*You can roast your own red peppers or if you are in a crush use bottled Roasted Red Peppers from the grocery store. To roast your own red peppers, heat oven to 375. Line a cooking sheet with foil. Wash and dry peppers and place on foiled sheet. Roast in oven for 20 min., rotate the peppers and roast another 20 min. Turn peppers again and continue to roast until they are somewhat charred and collapsing in on themselves. Remove them from the oven and put them in a large bowl and cover the bowl with the foil or a large plate and let them rest for at least 30 min. They need to cool so they are easy to peel. When they have cooled remove the skin with your fingers, remove the stems, seeds and veins and dice them. Set aside. Try not to eat too many, you’ll want to save at least three quarters for the chowder.
Put a large heavy bottomed pan over medium heat and add the EVOO. When the oil begins to shimmer add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook stirring occasionally, cook 3 min. Add the potatoes and another generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally another 5 min. Make a hot spot in the bottom of the pan and add the butter. When it has melted, stir combining all ingredients and add the celery and corn and another pinch of salt. Continue cooking for another 3-5 min. to brown the corn. Add the garlic and the chili powder and stir vigorously to combine everything. Cook until fragrant and spicy. Add the stock, roasted peppers and chilies, stir to combine and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to simmer, cover the pot and cook for 5-8 min., just until the potatoes are tender.
Add the milk or cream, season with salt and pepper to taste and return just to the boiling point. Serve in large open bowls garnished with cilantro.
This recipe can be vegetarian or vegan with just a few adjustments. Just use vegetable broth, and for vegans, leave out the cream. You can still make a chowder like soup by mashing a few of the potatoes to thicken the stock. This recipe is always gluten free no matter how you prepare it.
Yogi, instructor, seeker