Mexican Quinoa Salad with Creamy Chipotle Dressing

31 10 2013

I’ve recently read several articles that refer to Quinoa as the “super grain of the future”. Though not technically a grain as it’s in the spinach and beet families, it’s referred to a grain because it cooks and looks like one (although pictured here it looks like meat!). It’s packed with protein and essential amino acids; is a good source of fiber, rich in minerals and is gluten free…no wonder it’s called a super grain! Quinoa cooks fast too, so it’s ideal for busy weeknight dinners. I like to use it as a side dish, or in a salad like this tasty Mexican-inspired one. And knowing how healthy it is, I don’t feel bad tossing it in a creamy dressing, which in itself is made with low-fat ingredient choices of course 🙂

Mexican Quinoa Salad with Creamy Chipotle Dressing

Mexican Quinoa Salad with Creamy Chipotle Dressing

The following serves 2-3 with leftovers:

  • 1 cup of pre-rinsed Quinoa
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup of corn kernels
  • Half an onion, chopped
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • Cooked, leftover chicken – could be shredded, cubed or even rotisserie chicken (this is a good recipe to use up leftover chicken)
  • 2/3 cup fat-free or low fat sour cream
  • Handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp chipotle in adobo, pureed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground chili powder
  • Juice from 1 lime, plus more for lettuce
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • Reduced-fat Mexican cheese, shredded

In a saucepan, combine black beans, corn and a drizzle of olive oil, cook on medium high until heated through. Add dry quinoa and chicken stock and cook according to quinoa package directions. Once cooked, fold in the onion and shredded chicken, let cool slightly.

While the quinoa cooks, make the salad dressing by combining the following in a bowl: sour cream, cilantro, pureed chipotle in adobo, cumin, chili powder, juice of 1 lime and salt.

Next, combine the dressing with the cooked and semi-cooled quinoa mixture.

Chop romaine and mix with a little olive oil, lime juice and salt.

To serve, divide the dressed romaine among plates and top with the quinoa salad. Top with tomatoes and cheese if desired.

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