Aunt Suzy says . .

I’ve become a sucker for quinoa summer salads – you will find several of them here on Sweet & Savory Kitchens!  I’m always on the lookout for new and different quinoa recipes, so I immediately took note of this recently posted recipe from a fellow Minnesota food blogger on her Eating for England blog.  This is my riff on her recipe which embodies the flavors and ingredients of many Mexican dishes.  Enjoy as a main dish or a side for a summer grilling menu.  Beverages?  Iced tea, a lager beer or a dry rose wine all blend beautifully!

Quinoa-Black Bean Salad with Lime Dressing

1 cup quinoa (red or golden or a combo like I used)

1 1/2 cups water

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 red onion, small dice

1 clove garlic, minced

6 radishes, cut in half-moons

1 small jalapeno pepper, minced

1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half

3/4 cup cilantro or parsley

1-2 avocados, cut into chunks

Rinse the quinoa in a sieve and drain.  Place in a saucepan, add the water and bring to a boil.  Turn heat down, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until water is completely absorbed.  Uncover and let sit for 10 minutes.  Fluff and put in a bowl.  Add the black beans to the quinoa while it’s still warm.  Set aside to cool to room temperature.

When cooled, add the prepared onion, garlic, radishes, jalapeno pepper and tomatoes and stir to blend thoroughly.  Add the Lime Dressing and stir to combine.  Gently fold in the cilantro or parsley.  If the entire recipe will be eaten on the day it’s made, add the avocado along with the cilantro. Otherwise, pass the avocado for people to add to their individual servings.

Lime Dressing

2 tablespoons EV olive oil

juice of 1 lime

1/2 heaping teaspoon ground cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and whisk until slightly emulsified.  A NOTE ON THE CUMIN:  Instead of ground cumin, next time I make this I will toast 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds and then coarsely grind with a mortar and pestle for enhanced cumin flavor.  I’ll report back.

Aunt Suzy says

If you’re getting the impression that Margaux and I like potato salad, you are correct!  As I said in my Mediterannean Potato Salad post, I enjoy concocting salads using seasonal ingredients.  Right now we are at peak season for arugula, radishes and spring onions, which inspired this recipe.  We are lucky to have Burning River Farm at Mill City Farmer’s Market here in the Twin Cities – they grow the best baby arugula (and many other delicious produce items)!

Fire up the grill!  This recipe – no eggs, no mayo and no dairy – will go with anything you might be grilling!

The Vegetables

2 pounds small potatoes, red or white or a combo, unpeeled

6-8 radishes

2 cups sugar snap peas

4-6 spring onions

3-4 cups baby arugula

Place whole unpeeled potatoes in a large pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until just tender.  Place in a single layer on a towel and let cool.

While potatoes are cooling, prepare the other vegetables.  Remove the strings from the sugar snaps and then slice into 1/4-1/2-inch segments.  Thinly slice the radishes – if large, cut in half before slicing.  Thinly slice the spring onions.  Wash the arugula and remove any long or thick stems.  If using regular vs. baby arugula, chop into smaller pieces.  Wrap the arugula in a towel to dry.

When the potatoes are cool, cut into 1/2-3/4-inch pieces.  Place all vegetables except the arugula in large bowl.

The Dressing

1/3 cup EV olive oil

Juice of 1 to 1-1/2 lemons, depending on how juicy

1/2-1 tsp Dijon mustard, to taste

Salt and black pepper to taste

Place all dressing ingredients into a bowl or the cup that comes along with your hand-held blender.  Use the blender to emulsify the dressing, about 2 minutes.  You can make this with a hand whisk, but I think the dressing works better when slightly emulsified.

Pour the dressing over the potatoes and mix to blend.  I like using my hands to do this.  Add the arugula and gently toss to blend in and coat with the dressing.