Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Quinoa, Black Bean and Tomato Salad: An Adventure in Hunger

I needed to go grocery shopping, but I was also starving. This is when I started to scavenge to see what was left that I could squish together into something yummy.
  • Quinoa - since I have been buying this at CostCo now, I seem to always have some waiting in the wings. Possibility: I could just make plain quinoa... however, I could add some flavor to that if I just had some
  • Chicken Broth - AWESOME! Just enough left in the fridge to make two cups of quinoa (in case my husband had some crazy idea he was going to steal some of my gluten-free goodness on this day!).
But, woe is me... while I do love my mother grain, wouldn't this be most mundane? My tastebuds cried out to me for more! I begged them to understand that I didn't think there was too much more to work with. Then I walked around the kitchen and there was a
  • Tomato - well now... it seems like a nice red juicy tomato like that is just begging to join the party, but how? What to do with this red voluptuous fruit?
I went online and typed in quinoa and tomatoes in the search bar. The response that most intrigued me had one additional ingredient,
  • Black Beans - these are the moments I am thankful for canned goods. However, traditionally I prepare black beans with a whole bunch of ingredients (ie. bell peppers, garlic, apple cider vinegar, etc.) that I simply did not have available. This recipe did not speak of such things, it did, however, mention a
  • Lime - my husband LOVES these! I ran to the fridge - could it be? Would there be? YESSSS!! There they were - two lonely limes!!
I felt like I was on to something. My taste buds were all a-flutter. Then I read the rest of the ingredients - I had none of them. I felt betrayed, I was disenchanted by the internet recipe - How could it DO THIS to me?!What a TEASE!

I decided to compose myself and reevaluate my situation. I had a nice palette of ingredients to work with... Could these, along with some seasonings, perhaps, do the trick all on their own? And then it occurred to me: waiting in the refrigerator, holding out for its moment to shine was that little jar of
  • SOFRITO! and this wasn't any old sofrito, this was homemade sofrito! Made by my Puerto Rican mother-in-law! (In case you do not have a Puerto Rician Mother-in-law, or do not know how to make sofrito yourself, I found this recipe, but there are TONS out there. You can probably tell by the pictures of my quinoa that I did not use the tomato/red sofrito for this.)
The crowd goes WILD!! The taste buds are tingling!! The stomach is grumbling!! We are ready to roll!! Here is what I did, so simple.
Quinoa, black beans, tomato, lime & sofrito.

  1. I prepared the quinoa in my rice maker (I am lazy, I know). One cup of quinoa with two cups of chicken broth over it, stir, close up the top, put it on rice setting and got to the rest of my work.
  2. I cut the tomatoes (I found another, so I used two) into cubes, or as close to cubes as possible.
  3. I rinsed and drained the can of black beans.
  4. Put the tomatoes and the black beans in a bowl together.
  5. In a smaller bowl I put the juice of both limes (next time I do this I might do one or 1.5 limes instead) and two heaping tablespoons of the sofrito (I might kick this up next time!). Mixed well. 
  6. When the quinoa was finished I added it to the bowl with the tomatoes and beans and mixed.
  7. Finally, I added the "sauce" and mixed it in as well.
It can be served warm, room temperature, whatever you like! I don't particularly like things straight out of the fridge (and I had so much I have been keeping it in the fridge), so I throw a bunch in a mug (is this weird?) and microwave it for about 30 seconds - that has been my favorite temperature.

Want some?
As I am enjoying my last mug of this delicious quinoa salad that I have eaten as lunch, snacks and one night it was a side with dinner (yes, yes, overkill, I know! But I LIKE it, it is gluten-free, dairy-free and clean eating!!) I am wondering: Why the heck didn't I buy any more tomatoes so I could MAKE MORE?!

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