Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Red Quinoa Corn Salad

Have you heard of red quinoa? My friend Janet introduced me to this seed crop from the Andes where ancient Incas revered it and referred to quinoa as the "Mother of all Grains".  It is a high protein, high fiber "grain" similar to oats in that it has all 20 essential amino acids nutritionally important for humans.  Best of all, it's easily digestible and gluten-free so it's a boon to people with difficulties digesting gluten.

We found red quinoa on sale for less than $3 a pound at a bulk organic food outlet. It was a bargain considering a pack of eight 16 oz pouches can cost about $40.  If you soak it for a few minutes before boiling, it cooks faster and swells up and 1 cup of uncooked quinoa is enough for two people.  I really like its mild nutty flavor that goes well with corn and cilantro and a light vinegar dressing.  Here is a yummy, nutritious and easy side dish that can be prepared ahead of time and served at room temperature. 

Red Quinoa Corn Salad
1 cup red quinoa
2 cups water
1/4 cup drained, sweet corn kernels (add more if you wish)
finely chopped cilantro
about 1 T seasoned rice vinegar* (you can adjust the acidity to taste)

Soak red quinoa  for about 10 minutes in 2 cups water.  Place quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse it in running water. This step removes saponins (a mild laxative) and makes it even more digestible.  Pre-rinsed quinoa is available too if you prefer to skip this step.  Cook quinoa in a rice cooker with 2 cups water or cook covered in a pot at a low simmer for 15-20 minutes till nearly all the water is absorbed and the cooked germ looks like a tiny curl separating from the red seed coat and the cooked "grain".  Fluff up the quinoa with a fork and place in a bowl. Add drained sweet corn kernels, cilantro and seasoned rice vinegar. Serve and enjoy!

*One time, we tried balsamic vinegar but it tended to overpower the flavors.

This post is part of this weeks Simple Lives Thursday.


Quinoa Diet Tips said...

Thanks for this great quinoa corn salad recipe. I love quinoa and I'm collecting quinoa recipes from all over the world.
Yours will be among them.


Joanne said...

Mmm red quinoa is a definite favorite of mine! Love this salad.

Anonymous said...

A lovely salad featuring red quinoa, love the addition of corn.

Fresh Local and Best said...

I think corn and quinoa are great complements, they both have a good nutty flavor to them. This is probably one of the healthiest seeds/grains that you can eat.

Jude said...

I love quinoa and corn together, but have never made a salad for myself. I can't wait to try this delicious-sounding recipe!

Chef Dennis Littley said...

I have never used Red Quinoa but have seen it at our store, now that I have seen this incredible salad you made I must get some! What a great flavor combination and so colourful!!

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

I'm not familiar with red quinoa. It's gorgeous with the yellow corn.

Carolyn Jung said...

Oh, I love red quinoa. The color is so different and memorable. And the nutty flavor compliments so many different herbs and veggies.

Mary Bergfeld said...

I haven't yet seen red quinoa, but will now begin to look for it. I love the simplicity of your recipe. It sounds delicious. Have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

Maris said...

This looks good - so healthy and refreshing!

Lawyer Loves Lunch said...

I discovered quinoa recently and have been trying to use it in as many recipes as possible. This looks delicious and I'm adding it to my quinoa arsenal! :)

Tangled Noodle said...

Though it's not the red variety, I have a package of quinoa that I need to use. Your recipe looks so delicious and simple to prepare!