Monday, October 11, 2010

Southwestern Sweet Potato & Quinoa Salad

Chow fellow food lovers!

My name is Brittany and I am one of the several food loving people who will be contributing to this blog.

First you should know that my food obsession is Quinoa. It's a fantastic grain full of protein. I need this protein as I'm a pescatarian (vegetarian that eats fish-sometimes people hear Presbyterian). I have made several different quinoa dishes but I got stuck on one for a while. Mediterranean Quinoa which consists of red onion, feta, kalamata olives, avocado, red pepper and quinoa. It comes with a dressing, optional of course, consisting of: olive oil, chopped garlic, a little mustard, white balsamic vinegar (also regular balsamic can be used) white wine, salt and pepper. I have tried to make it for most of my friends just because I love it so much.

This time I tried a recipe out of How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, which by the way is an amazing bible type cook book for vegetarians. Everything I have made out of this book has been divine. It doesn't have pictures which freaked me out a bit but I totally got used to it and LOVE it. It also offers an alternate recipe within a recipe. I'll explain.

The recipe I chose was Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad. As I read it, I realized I was missing some ingredients. But at the end there was an alternate version! Southwestern Sweet Potato & Quinoa Salad, which I had all the ingredients for. Convenient.

To speed up your cook time, cook sweet potatoes at the same time as quinoa. Peel the sweet potato and dice it into 1/2 inch or smaller pieces. Cook it in boiling salted water to cover until tender, about 15 minutes; drain.

Just in case you haven't made quinoa yet, it is a two to one deal: 2 cups broth or water to 1 cup quinoa. Boil broth or water, add quinoa, cover and turn down to medium heat for 15 minutes. Now salad sometimes implies cold but whenever I make quinoa anything it's always warm. But it would be fantastic cold.

Add these ingredients to quinoa and stir:
1 large or 2 medium sweet potatoes (I used 1 small and that sufficed)
1/4 cup minced shallot
1 avocado
1/4 tsp cayenne, chili powder or hot red pepper flakes
1 bell pepper (we used a purple pepper from the Ballard Farmer's Market)
freshly squeezed lime juice (I used the lime I had which about 1/4 of it was missing)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup minced cilantro