Yes, summer is on our minds: Sun, Shade, Sand, Shells, and Swim ~ you get the picture. However, for us foodies , summer means salads: fruit, pasta, vegetable, etc.
One salad that I have discovered is a great addition for all of us needing an energy boost. It is quinoa, pronounced “keen-wah”, and has been cultivated in the Andes Mountains of South America for over 5,000 years. It is referred to as the “mother grain” because of its protein and amino acids. Therefore, it is highly recommended by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. While traveling in Ecuador, we acquired a taste for the quinoan,vegetable and potato soups always on the menus. It wasn’t until recently, through a friend, that I learned quinoa is used in salads.
Whenever possible, I purchase foods from companies that pay Fair Trade prices in order to improve the income of local communities. It rewards those communities that are using farming methods that preserve the environment. Alter Eco is a Fair Trade company that works with the Anapqui cooperative out of Bolivia. Quinoa is readily available in grocery stores as well as co-ops and health food stores.
Because my husband is gluten intolerant, we have grown dependent on rice as a mainstay in his diet. Quinoa has been a welcome addition. It has a nutty flavor and is perfect for couscous, pilaf, tabouli or salad.
The following recipe is not from the Andes, but a Southwest United States version. Therefore, chili powder has been added which adds to the flavor, not the heat.
Easy to make and delicious.
Southwest Quinoa Salad
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups onions, chopped
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup quinoa rinsed, drained
2 teaspoons red chili powder
One-half teaspoon ground cumin
One-half teaspoon salt
1 & One-half cups water
1 can black beans, rinsed, and drained
One-half cup chopped fresh cilantro, de-stemmed
Bring water to a boil and add the quinoa, cook for 15 minutes, or until rings appear on outer edge of the grain. Rinse, then add all other ingredients and stir well.
Will keep for 4 days. Serve cold for lunch: It keeps getting better.
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