Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Recipe: Zesty Quinoa Salad

We must nourish ourselves always.

Never deprive your body of what it rightly needs. Your mind will suffer. And a suffering mind does not grant self-acceptance.

Now on to the recipe...

To helplessly watch a creativity grow confined and ultimately halted is frustration at its finest. I have served as both the victim and the cause. 

My inner-optimist cautiously whispers, an enthusiasm bubbling and preparing for surface:  
"I am inspired to create a new recipe..."
 But my inner-perfectionist calmly enters and conquers, overcoming its opponent with superior power:
"If you wish to cook, choose a recipe that is well-known. Creator, you are not. Chef, you will never be."
Not long ago, as I returned home from Mass, I pondered balance. I resisted my inner-perfecionist and designed a recipe in my mind.

I firmly believe that balance is harmony of mind, body, and spirit.

Harmony of body, in my humble opinion, does not involve eating "perfectly" clean all of the time.

Some Saturdays and Sundays (... perhaps Mondays and Wednesdays) insist on doughy ring-shaped cake. Fried cake, at that.

Spoiler: in case you missed the title, this is not a doughnut recipe. I wish it were. Stay tuned.

But this form of harmony also involves feeding your physical body what it rightly needs (in addition to what it occasionally craves). It is for this reason that I opted to remain in healthy (but delicious!) territory for this first shared recipe.

Zesty Quinoa Salad 

serves 4

1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved 
1 small red onion, diced  
1/2 cup cucumber, peeled and diced 
1 large avocado, chopped 
1 cup corn 
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper
Cilantro, for garnish 

3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 limes, juiced
1 tablespoon honey 
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 clove garlic (fresh), minced 

Optional: Heat 1 tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add quinoa and toast for 2-3 minutes. Set aside. This step helps expose the creamy, nutty flavour of the quinoa. 

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Add quinoa and simmer covered for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow quinoa to rest covered for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. 

In a large serving bowl, combine quinoa, red and orange bell peppers, grape tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, and corn. Add avocado once ready to serve. 

For the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together Extra Virgin Olive Oil, lime juice, honey, nutmeg, and garlic.

Toss well to mix. Add salt and pepper. Garnish with cilantro.

Voila! The delicate fluffiness of the quinoa, the refreshing crunch of the bell peppers, and the oh-so-creamy avocado (who can resist?) work wonderfully together!

Feel free to serve with spicy jerk chicken or lemony grilled tilapia for a complete meal.

Or do as I do: stand in the middle of the kitchen and enjoy large heaping tablespoons at your discretion.

Until the next time! Keep searching.


1 comment :

  1. This looks wonderful! I've had some quinoa in my kitchen for some time, but never knew what to make with it. Since this has avocado in it (my fave), I think I might just give it a try!

    Thank you for sharing!