Friday, May 14, 2010

Santa Fe Quinoa Salad

Lunch with friends is always a treat, and when your friends are personal chefs, it's even better!

A few of us have been trying to get together for lunch for a while, and today was finally the day. A little-known fact about personal chefs is that many of us have Fridays off. Why? Because our clients want to eat our meals during the week: Mondays and Tuesdays are my most sought-after days. When I cook for families on those days, they end up with a fridge (and sometimes freezer) full of meals to enjoy on busy weeknights. And, most personal chefs are our own bosses, so if we want Fridays off, we take them off.

Today, each of us brought a dish, and our lunch was suberb: Christine's Crab Cakes with Spicy Remoulade, Patti's (dairy-free) Cream of Asparagus Soup, Lyn's Marinated Vegetable Salad and my Santa Fe Quinoa Salad.

Santa Fe Quinoa Salad
Serves 4 - 6 as a side dish

3/4 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 tablespoons canola oil
Freshly ground pepper
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 small red bell pepper -- finely diced
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
1 3 ounce jar cocktail onions

In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa, water and a pinch of salt; bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until the water is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes. Spread the quinoa on a baking sheet; refrigerate for about 20 minutes. (Or make quinoa a day ahead and refrigerate until needed.)

Combine the ground cumin, lime juice, oil, salt and pepper in a jar and shake until combined. Pour the dressing into a bowl and add the black beans, bell pepper, cilantro and cocktail onions. Scrape the quinoa into the bowl, season with salt and pepper and serve.

Make Ahead:
The quinoa salad can be refrigerated overnight.

Recipe adapted from Food and Wine, May 2010

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