New Southwest Quinoa Salad with a Kick!
Hi Ovenhuggers! It’s high time I reposted OvenHug’s Southwest Quinoa Salad recipe. It was originally published last summer (Party Sized Confetti Colored Southwest Quinoa Salad Recipe) in July. This quinoa salad recipe is the recipe I look up the most often on OvenHug. I make it every family gathering and occasion under the sun. Since it is a favorite of ours I want to share it with you!
As I was prepping this quinoa salad for tomorrow’s Persian New Year party I realized I don’t really follow my own recipe. Over the last 8 months I have switched it up enough that a revised recipe post is due. When I search for the old recipe it is for the dressing. The rest of the salad I am on auto-pilot.
My girls and Bob like it spicy so there is definitely extra kick in this one. I cut down the ingredients list making this recipe more practical and easy to make anytime, anywhere. It’s a rare day that we don’t have cans of black beans and corn in the cupboard, and red bell peppers and cilantro in the fridge. I buy Costco sized lemon juice and olive oil so we are set there. Our spice collection is fairly well stocked. I wind up needing more cumin often since I sprinkle that stuff everywhere.
The dressing is the key. What makes the dressing special is all the spices that go into it.
I realize that if you don’t cook Mexican as often as we do, using chili powders and Mexican spices can be daunting. Once you have a feel for it you can mix and match the spices in the dressing recipe to suit your tastes. Here is a quick spice guide:
chipotle chili powder – our girls love chipotle flavor; this powder has a smoky flavor – I would categorize this one as medium spicy
ancho chili powder – a mildly fruity flavor – I would say its medium heat
cayenne red pepper powder – this one is pure heat – Ava asks for it in this salad; use it gradually and only if you like it hot! I’ve started adding it to our quinoa salads recently
fresh jalapeno pepper – if you want to really go over the top with the heat, chop up some fresh jalapeno! I only do this on occasion – it’s a bit much even for our taste buds. Be careful of the seeds if you are using them – the seeds are the hottest part. You definitely don’t want to cut one up and go anywhere near your eyes or nose…yes I have made this mistake!
Here’s a visual to help see how I’ve simplified the original recipe:
*Revised recipe alert: I only use black beans (no pintos), red bell peppers (no orange and yellow), and cilantro (no chives). I also have cut out using any red onion. Our picky eater in the family has steered me away from adding chives and fresh onions however we are still fans of cilantro and lots of it.
If you have the time and want to make your salad more colorful, go ahead and grab a variety variety of bell peppers – the orange and yellow have a mild taste and don’t change the over all flavor of the salad much:
Our gals favor red bell pepper so I keep that one kind in the house and use it in this salad.
*One step I worth noting is that it is important to try to drain, rinse, and dry the beans. They hold up better in the salad this way. Strategy: lay out some paper towels on a baking sheet and let them dry out about an hour while I’m cooking the quinoa and chopping the bell pepper.
- 1 cup quinoa (I often mix red and regular quinoa)
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 can organic black beans, drained, rinsed and dried
- 1 can organic corn, drained and rinsed
- 1 to 1½ finely chopped red bell pepper
- ¾ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Dressing Ingredients:
- ¼ cup lemon juice and/or lime juice
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil (infused olive oils are fun, basil or lemon infused are favorites)
- 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ground black pepper to taste
- 1½ teaspoon ground Cumin
- ½ teaspoon chipotle powder
- a few shakes of cayenne red pepper powder (if you like it spicy!)
- ½ teaspoon ground red pepper flakes
- Follow cooking instructions for quinoa - I use vegetable broth in the place of water
- Bring quinoa and veggie broth to a boil
- Cook at medium bowling for about 10 minutes
- Reduce heat to low and allow to cook for another 20 minutes
- Fluff quinoa with a fork and allow to cool
- Add dried beans, corn, red pepper, and chopped cilantro to quinoa
- Mix dressing ingredients (lemon/lime juice, olive oil, vinegar, and spices) to a large, 1 cup glass measuring cup
- Stir dressing ingredients
- Pour dressing into quinoa salad and stir
- Allow dressing to soak in for a few hours
I managed to craft up some cute “aid-ees” (Persian New Years gifts) in between prepping quinoa salad today. Persian culture is similar to Chinese in terms of giving cash for New Years gifts. One difference is that we don’t do the little red envelopes. For Persian New Year the custom is to find new bills or coins. I found some clothes pins at Target that reminded me of butterflies. Folding up bills accordion style was a snap. Hope the kiddos at our Persian New Years like them! We are expecting 7 or 8 kids/teens, should be fun!
Hope you will make this revised, shorter ingredient list, kicked up a notch on the spice meter! Ava and I are off to a dance competition on the other side of the bay now. She starts bright and early in the morning so we decided to head out tonight and be there ready to go tomorrow. It promises to be a full day of dancin’ and dance-mom’in’. I’m hoping we make it back to the Bay Area with enough energy to enjoy Southwest Quinoa Salad along with all the festivities of the Persian New Year.
Happy Spring OvenHuggers!