Thursday, August 18, 2011

Peru cooking: Quinoa salad

Quinoa (pronounced keen-oo-ah) is a grain grown high up in the Andes. It's a great substitute for rice or couscous. As a bonus, unlike other grains, it has has protein in it. I was especially excited for our cooking project this month because it's something healthy that The Whirl Girl eats and it's yummy! It's not the easiest thing to find in Singapore, so it's not something that we eat often here. But we tracked it down and cooked it up.

We made a quinoa salad with veggies and chicken/black beans - one vegetarian, one not for differing tastes in our home. The recipe follows. I chopped all of the ingredients before hand. The Whirl Girl helped by pouring the quinoa and water into the rice cooker, so she could see quinoa before and after. And then she helped mix all of the chopped ingredients together. We also added guacamole to the meal and she's an avocado-scooping and -mashing pro , not counting the chunks that end up on the floor.

After our quinoa dinner, we read Up and Down the Andes, one of our Peru books, at sleepytime. A perfect pair.

measuring the quinoa for the rice cooker
chopped veggies
pouring and mixing
avocado scooping
And best of all, eating!

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans/Chicken and Veggies

2 cups quinoa, dry

1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
3 green onions, sliced
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 small sweet potatoes, slivered and roasted
2 cobs of corn, roasted (grilled or boiled would be okay too)

1 can black beans and/or 2 cooked chicken breasts (I poached the chicken with water, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper)

for dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon/lime juice
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt


Cook the quinoa. We used a rice cooker (2 cups of water to 1 cup of quinoa).

Mix vegetables, quinoa, and beans and/or chicken.

Mix dressing ingredients. Add to salad. Toss. Season with salt and pepper.

I served it with fresh salsa to kick it up a notch and some guacamole.

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