Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Quinoa, Black Bean & Red Cabbage Salad with Chipotle-Citrus Dressing

For someone that truly enjoys cooking, I admit that I don't really give much time or thought to lunch. Most of my energy, interest and down time gets directed toward what we're having for dinner. Most mornings are fairly routine and well practiced, requiring little more than simply being awake and cognizant to pull off breakfast. And, while I welcome the opportunity to create tasty, flavorful lunches, the reality is that when lunch rolls around (and it's usually just me), I'm often hard-pressed to be bothered. I'll nibble on just about anything that looks healthy (fruits, nuts, veggies) until satiated, or grab some leftovers if I'm lucky enough to have any left... over.

Or... I make an effort early on in the week to make a salad like this one that will keep well and provide for more than just a few lunchtime nibbles.

It's basically my take on a little salad that Elephant Deli makes, loaded with a LOT of good-for-you bits... quinoa, black beans, red cabbage, carrot, green onion, cilantro, and a generous pop of sliced black olives... that get lightly dressed with a subtly spiced chipotle-citrus dressing. It's great on its own or popped into "re-stuffed" avocado halves. I happen to LOVE avocado and will happily lunch on a carved up halve drizzled with a favored salsa, while hovering over the kitchen sink. So it seems only natural to scoop out the flesh of a halved avocado, season it with a little freshly squeezed lime juice, salt and pepper and then re-stuff its shell and top it with some of this tasty salad. Yum! It's a super easy lunch time option thats requires maybe just a tad more thought beyond just being awake and cognizant ... but just a tad... and well worth it!

Quinoa, Black Bean & Red Cabbage Salad with Chipotle-Citrus Dressing
serves 6 to 8

2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled to room temp
1 29-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups thinly sliced and roughly chopped red cabbage (1/2 small head cabbage)
2 cups shredded carrot (about 3 carrots)
1/2 to 1 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro (as preferred)
3/4 to 1 cup sliced green onion (2 large green onions)
2 3.8-ounce cans sliced black olives, drained

dressing (makes 1 cup)
2 chipotle chiles with adobo sauce (from can)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground paprika
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 extra virgin olive oil

In a large bowl, combine quinoa, black beans, red cabbage, carrot, cilantro, green onion, and black olives. Set aside.

Meanwhile, place chipotle chile, lime juice, orange juice, cumin, coriander, paprika, salt, honey, and olive oil in a blender. Blend on high until fully combined. Lightly dress salad (I used approximately 1/2 to 3/4 cup dressing) and toss to blend. Refrigerate for 1/2 hour before serving.

If serving in avocado halves, scoop out flesh of avocado into a small bowl. Mash avocado using the back of a dinner fork. Add salt, ground black pepper, and freshly squeezed lime juice, to taste. Re-stuff avocado shells with seasoned avocado flesh and top with salad.

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