Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a high protein seed that has a fluffy, slightly crunchy texture. Though it looks like couscous and is eaten like a grain, it's actually a cousin of spinach, Swiss chard, and other leafy greens. It's wonderful when cooked right—the key is not to follow the package's instructions, which always call for too much liquid and results in way too mushy quinoa. The ideal ratio is one cup of quinoa to 1 2/3 cups of liquid.
You can make this salad a day ahead of time; just be sure to add the avocado at the last minute so it doesn't discolor. The quinoa will cling to it, so it's best to scatter it over the top rather than mix it in.
Finally, be very careful when chopping jalapeno peppers. The juices and seeds can irritate your skin so it's a good idea to wear gloves. At the very least, keep your hands away from your eyes and wash them well when done.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion, from one small onion
- 1 cup pre-washed quinoa (if not pre-washed, follow package instructions for rinsing)
- 1-2/3 cups low sodium vegetable broth (recommended brand: Swanson Organic)
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes, from 2 medium tomatoes
- 1-1/4 cups fresh cut cooked corn, from 2 cobs
- 2 scallions, white and green parts, finely sliced
- 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons lime juice, from 1 large lime
- 1 avocado, cut into bite-sized chunks
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add quinoa to onions and continue cooking, stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes. Add vegetable broth and stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt. Turn heat up to high and bring to a boil. Cover pan tightly with lid, turn heat down to low and simmer for 17-20 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is cooked. Transfer cooked quinoa to mixing bowl and chill in refrigerator.
When quinoa is cool, add remaining tablespoon olive oil, tomatoes, corn, scallions, jalapeno, cilantro, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and lime juice. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Right before serving, scatter avocado chunks over top.