As much as I love to cook, cooking a hot meal every night for my family can be…mundane? A pain in the rear? Maddening? Not that I would ever succumb to the Fast Food Voice in my head…”Just swing through Chik-fil-a,” but preparing and plating a healthy, well-balanced meal every night of the week sometimes leaves me longing for something easier.
Especially the side dishes. That’s probably where I’m most likely go get bogged down. I mean, really…how much rice and pasta can you consume before you long for a twice baked potato, heavy on the sour cream? I love couscous because it’s really just a blank canvas waiting for a flavor infusion, but I vacuum dried couscous off the floor for two days after I’ve served it. So, I continue my quest for interesting and healthy sides.
The other day I was scanning recipes and it dawned on my I had a box of pre-washed quinoa in the pantry. Talk about a blank canvas…and really healthy, too. Although the following recipe presumes you’re working with raw quinoa, I subbed in the pre-washed and simply followed the cooking directions on the box. If you want more depth of flavor in your cooked quinoa, sub in chicken or veggie stock for the water. Also, while the recipe is basically cook and serve, I think this was even better the next day. So make it ahead if you’re going to be tight for time at dinner. The flavors will have a chance to blend and mingle and do whatever it is flavors do in the fridge while you’re busy doing other things. Enjoy! Black Bean and Tomato Quinoa
- 2 teaspoons grated lime zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 (14- to 15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 medium tomatoes, diced
- 4 scallions, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Whisk together lime zest and juice, butter, oil, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.
- If you’re working withpre-washed quinoa, cook according to directions on box, otherwise wash the quinoa in 3 changes of cold water in a bowl, draining in a sieve each time.
- Cook quinoa in a medium pot of boiling salted water (1 tablespoon salt for 2 quarts water), uncovered, until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Drain in sieve, then set sieve in same pot with 1 inch of simmering water (water should not touch bottom of sieve). Cover quinoa with a folded kitchen towel, then cover sieve with a lid (don’t worry if lid doesn’t fit tightly) and steam over medium heat until tender, fluffy, and dry, about 10 minutes. Remove pot from heat and remove lid. Let stand, still covered with towel, 5 minutes.
- Add quinoa to dressing and toss until dressing is absorbed, then stir in remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste.