southwestern quinoa with chili lime dressing

Good day, food lovers!  I hope your Memorial Day weekend was filled with cool summer drinks, smoky barbecue, and maybe even some toes in the sand.  Hopefully, you were more prepared to resume the grind than I was on this lovely Tuesday (not at all).  It seems that the better my weekends get, the harder it is to come back to the 9 – 5 reality that supports this lifestyle.  Kind of like a “fun hangover.”  Anyone else feel this way?  Nevertheless, I had a fabulous few days consisting of early morning workouts, fishing with the fam, a handful of beach sessions, and a couple of first class barbecues.

We were lucky enough to attend our friends’, Leslie and Jay’s, annual Memorial Day party for the first time, and boy did they host one heck of a cookout!   Their immaculately manicured property was the perfect setting for the occasion and felt more like a botanical garden  than backyard, replete with a rainbow of gorgeous roses blooming in every corner (check out my gracious hosts’ parting gift to me in the side picture), a lulling fountain, and a shady little table with a flower-covered overhang to sit beneath, mingle, and sip our drinks.  The food was top-notch and plentiful, with an array of interesting sides, salads, and desserts.  And, you wouldn’t suspect these two are vegetarian by the looks of their monster grill cooking up some wicked delicious burgers.   Thanks, guys!

The other barbecue we attended was hosted by our longtime pals, Ed and Jill, and was filled with more amazing food and old friends – perhaps two of the better things in life.  I whipped up a colorful and cheesy corn dip appetizer I had tasted at a family party that was both addictive and delicious.  Unfortunately, healthful was not one of its characteristics.   But discontent breeds change, right?  After overindulging for three straight days, I was eager to create something wholesome with the dip’s leftover ingredients that would be reminiscent of that Tex-Mex essence I love so much – sans cheese and mayonnaise.  Well, here’s what I ended up with:  a nutty protein-packed quinoa salad with some Tex-Mex flair and light dressing.  It’s super fresh and comes together in no time at all.  Bon appetit!

P.S.  I’m brainstorming on how to make that corn dip healthier – I have a few things in mind, and if they work, maybe it will hit the blog by summer’s end!

Southwestern Quinoa with Chili-Lime Dressing
Serves 4

3 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of salt
Few grinds of pepper
1 tsp. chili powder
3 tsp. honey

2 cups cooked black quinoa*
1 cup prepared black beans
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
2 scallions, white and green parts sliced
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, chopped

In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, chili powder, and honey until dressing is emulsified.  Combine remaining ingredients in large bowl along with dressing and gently fold together until well mixed and evenly coated. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

*In a small pot, bring 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups of liquid (either stock or water) to a boil.  Cover with a lid, reduce to a simmer, and stir occasionally for 15-20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed and the kernels have popped (the germ has separated from the seed).

A couple notes:

  • I topped mine with sliced avocado and a squeeze of fresh lime juice
  • Serve with some pan seared tofu or chicken for a complete meal
  • Joe likes his hot with a dash of hot sauce.  Try Tapatio for a little kick!

14 Responses to “southwestern quinoa with chili lime dressing”

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  1. sue says:

    Can’t wait to make this. The color of the black quinoa adds to the whole southwest vibe of the dish. Including the avocado as you recommend and I’m there!

  2. Leslie Eaton says:

    You are very welcome! The 2 main ingredients of a grrreat barbeque : good food and good friends…so thanks for coming…always good to see you 2!

    Quinoa salad looks fantastic!! Can’t wait to try it…and as Sue mentioned: the avocado will surely add a wonderful creaminess to the mix. Yum!

    Happy summer…and hope it is filled with wonderful times, adventures and food!

  3. Teresa says:

    Oo this looks yummy. I have never had black quinoa but I love the look of it for this dish. I also love a good corn dip–maybe try Greek yogurt instead of the mayo to lighten it up a bit?

    • KarmaCucina says:

      Thanks for stopping by the blog, Teresa! And thanks for your suggestion – I’m definitely interested in the possibility of Greek yogurt. Have you ever baked it in a dish before? I was wondering how it would hold up / transform in a hot oven…

      • Stash says:

        Greek yogurt is just regular strained yogurt. It’s the only type of yogurt I use nowadays.

        It holds up quite well in baked preparations. Flour, sparkling water and Greek yogurt equals fantastic scones, no butter required.

        Combine with beaten eggs, tomatoes, sweet peppers and cheese, then pour into individual ramekins or a soufflé dish, then pop into a bain-marie and bake.

        It’s a wonderfully versatile ingredient that’s become a regular part of my pantry.

        Nice pix, by the way.

        • KarmaCucina says:

          Thanks for the tip, Stash! I will definitely try the Greek yogurt in place of the mayonnaise. The scones sound delish 🙂

  4. Joe says:

    I’m eating this right now for lunch and every bite is amazing. So much flavor!

  5. Leslie Eaton says:

    D E L I C I O U S !
    made a batch last nite for dinner…perfect cold dish during the heat wave!
    …added some tabasco to the dressing prior to mixing (rather than as a finishing addition)…and topped it off with avocado…really nice mixture of flavors and textures in this one!!
    looking forward to the lefty-overs!! (and of course more entries from my fav food blog!)

  6. Claudie says:

    I eat quinoa almost every day and, sometimes, making it “different” gets tough. I had never thought of making it southwestern style though! This is a great idea, and I will definitely try it 🙂

    PS: yup, I totally understand what you mean by “fun hangover”

  7. Chris says:

    This dish is absolutely wonderful. I found your blog after meeting you at Jay and Leslie’s party. So glad I did.I’m now a subscriber. (The 1st blog I’ve ever actually subscribed to by the way). This is the 2nd time I made Quinoa and this time the kids didn’t think I was feeding them bugs. We all loved it. Thank You.

    • KarmaCucina says:

      Chris, Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m glad everyone liked it – especially the kids! Also, I’m extremely flattered that you’ve subscribed – I’ll do my best to keep the goodness coming… Take care


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