I recently purchased the cookbook, Power Foods, and this was the first recipe I made. It definitely did not disappoint! Quinoa is one of my favorite foods because it tastes and acts like a grain, but it is really a seed. The sweet corn and the red pepper add color to the dish while the jalapeño and chili powder add just a hint of spice. I made this for lunch, but it can just as easily be for dinner.
Quinoa and Corn Salad with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
adapted from Power Foods from the editors of Whole Living Magazine
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 or 3 limes)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 3/4 cups water
1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 can corn kernels
1 red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, died
3 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 large jalapeño chile, diced (ribs and seeds removed for less heat)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1 ripe, firm avocado
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
- In a small bowl, mix together lime juice, cumin, chili powder, garlic, oil, and 1/4 tsp salt.
- Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan, add quinoa, and return to a boil. Cook for 15 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed all the liquid. Turn off heat and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Transfer to a large bowl to cool.
- Add dressing to quinoa and toss. Then add red pepper, scallions, jalapeño, and cilantro to quinoa mixture. Season with salt to taste.
- Cut avocado in half lengthwise; remove the pit. Peel avocado and thinly slice or dice.
- Arrange avocado over the quinoa mixture and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds. Serve immediately.
In addition to being such a versatile and delicious food, Quinoa has a rich and fascinating history. For Andean farmers, the food has been a diet staple for generations. But until 1993, when NASA recommended quinoa as part of a space-colony diet, quinoa was not known outside of the Andean regions where it was grown. Today, the international demand for quinoa has meant that its native farmers often choose to sell the nourishing seeds rather than eat them. Much of the quinoa grown in Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador is shipped outside of the countries. Purchasing quinoa may provide economic support to these regions, but does the market for quinoa hurt the farmers and their families nutritionally? The story is still unfolding. You can learn more about quinoa politics in this 2012 Time Magazine article, “Quinoa: The Dark Side of an Andean Superfood” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/20/world/americas/20bolivia.html or this 2011 New York Times article, “Quinoa’s Global Success Creates Quandary at Home.”
Fortunately, Bolivian officials are working hard to encourage consumption of quinoa at home so that their farmers can have their quinoa -- and eat it, too!