June 4, 2012

Pin It Mexican Quinoa Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

Taken From Bake Your Day’s  guest post on The Realistic Nutritionist 

Week 23
 And I’m back!

After two fantastic back to back vacations I’m back to the grind. A mini recap for the past two weeks for me would go a little something like this:

Had an awesome sunshine ladies vacation with Bonnie and Kristen in Kauai!  I surfed, snorkeled and even got a couple dives in.  We ate tons of fish, had plenty of beach time and it felt great to be back in the tropics.
Bonnie and Kristen eating the best fish wraps ever at Kilauea Fish Market.
Me and Bonnie hanging at Molo'a Beach.
This past weekend I had another ladies sunshine vacation with my 5 sisters!  We headed up to Napa for the weekend for winetasting, dining, spa time and relaxing in the mineral pool. The weather was amazing (mid to high 80’s) and it was such a fun trip.
Wine tasting at Corison.
Dinner at Bottega.
Now that I'm back in the real world I had to actually go to the grocery store, as the only things in my refrigerator were some left over taro rolls and 3 eggs.

After all the rich foods and wine in Napa, I was looking for something on the lighter side to make for dinner.  I’ve been collecting all my recipe ideas on my Pintrest boards so I can easily browse through the photos to decide what I want to make next.  It’s an awesome way to organize any blog links or other recipe websites I come across.  Everything is neatly organized in one place, with a picture and the link in one convenient spot (so easy!).  Love Pintrest.

I found this recipe and decided it looked light and yummy. I left out quite a few ingredients, either because I don’t like them (i.e. cumin, parsley) or because I’m a spicy food wimp (i.e. jalapeno, red pepper flakes) or I didn’t want a huge surplus in my house right now (i.e. green onions, red wine vinegar). I used balsamic vinegar instead of red wine vinegar and it tasted great.

Here is what I ended up using:

For the salad:
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15.5 ounce) can sweet corn, drained and rinsed
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 tsp. paprika

For the avocado dressing:
1 avocado, pitted
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tsp. honey
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. olive oil

Directions (Taken From Bake your Day guest post):
For the salad, combine the quinoa and vegetable broth in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until all of the liquid is absorbed and the germ of the quinoa is exposed. Remove from heat.

While the quinoa is cooking, combine the black beans, corn, tomatoes, green onions, jalapeno, cilantro, cumin and paprika in a large bowl.
Salad ingredients.
Prepare the dressing by combining all of the dressing ingredients (everything except the olive oil) in the bowl of a food processor (I put everything in a small bowl and used my immersion blender). Pulse to combine and then scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn on the processor and then slowly stream the olive oil through the top opening, continuing to process until the dressing is combined.
Dressing ingredients, pre-blending.
Add the quinoa to the black bean/corn mixture and toss to combine. Pour the dressing over the mixture. Serve warm or chilled. Top with additional cilantro if desired.
Quinoa plus other salad stuffs.
Dressing mixed in and ready to eat!
This recipe was super easy, fresh and healthy (I’m pretty sure quinoa is good for you, right? Seems to be all the rage the past few years). 

So now I’m back on track and should be posting regularly J

Being back at work after vacation (especially two!) is always a bummer but I’ve got some great photos to remind me of the awesome times with friends and family.
Me and Kristen at Kilauea lighthouse.
Kristen and Bonnie on the north shore.
Me surfing in Hanalei.
Sister at the Girl and the Fig in Sonoma.
Sisters at the Culinary Institute of America, Greystone.
Sisters at Cha Cha Cha in the Mission.

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