Thursday, May 12, 2011

Quinoa and Bean Salad (5 ingredients!)

Need a quick, delicious and light in calories weekday meal?  Or maybe something to pack in your lunch?  Or something light and refreshing as a side dish to dinner?  I got ya covered.  

Quinoa and Bean Salad (straight from Rachael Ray)
  • 20 oz can of kidney beans
  • 2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa
  • 1 red onion, chopped (rinse with cold water to take away some of the bite)
  • 2 bunches basil, stems discarded and leaves chopped
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup of EVOO

I have been wanting to try quinoa for a while now.  For those of you who aren't aware of Quinoa's ass kicking health benefits, check out more information from Whole Foods here.  It's nearly gluten free, for all you out there adverse to gluten.  It also has a nutty flavor.  Since this was my first go about with Quinoa, I carefully followed the instructions on the back of the package.  It called for a bit of heat to take away some of the bitter taste and release the nutty aromas.  I don't have anything to compare it to... but I have to admit, I was petrified of ruining this $6 bag of Quinoa, so I watched it very carefully.

First Seitan and now Quinoa.... while I am getting adventurous here kids, don't expect me to go all that much more crazy.  Well maybe.... with my MBA and my freelance job behind me, I have a lot more times on my hands.  

Prepare quinoa as directed and cool.  In a large bowl, mix together beans, quinoa, onion and basil.  In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and EVOO.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour the dressing over the salad and toss evenly to coat.

And just like that, you're all set.  Serve as a meal (has a ton of grain and protein and fiber, so you can get away with this.) or as a side dish to a white fish or chicken.

I packed up about four tupperwares for lunches that week.  I didn't bother freezing any - this salad is made for eating fresh.  I have to admit, I rather enjoyed my first run with Quinoa.  In fact, the thing that ruined this salad for me was the basil.  I must have had a funky batch because I ended up trying to pick most of out it.  As someone who breathes basil, this was rather disappointing.   I couldn't put my finger on it, but something was just off.  Once the basil was out, I gobbled up this salad.

Chef 'em up!


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