Quinoa and Corn Salad
From Ezra Pound Cake
As an avid lunch packer, having a cold salad in the fridge all week can be invaluable. When I’m scrambling to throw something in Tupperware at 7am while simultaneously whipping up breakfast sammies and figuring out who’s going to walk this rascal, cold pasta and grain salads are my go-to. John is too manly to pack a lunch for the office, but since he works from home a few days a week no one has to see him secretly eating leftover homemade salads for lunch on those days.
This salad is really refreshing and a great way to use what’s left of summer corn. If you’ve never cooked quinoa (keen-wa) before, it’s not as scary as it looks. You can get it in bulk at Whole Foods, and most normal grocery stores sell it now too. Try the organic or natural aisle, or just ask an employee. If you can’t find it or aren’t feeling adventurous, this would also work with couscous, bulgur, faro, or any other small grain
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
- 6 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (this was about 6 limes for me)
- 1 jalapeno, chopped and seeded, or more to taste
- 1 garlic clove, grated (use a cheese grater – it prevents bites with big pieces of raw garlic, which can be pretty gross)
- 1 tsp coarse salt
- 2 ears of corn, kernels cut off
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1/2 cup scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
- 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
- 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
- Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer for at least 45 seconds, shaking the strainer to make sure everything gets rinsed. This step is no joke – quinoa has a weird, soapy tasting film on it naturally, and you definitely want to wash it off.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet. Add rinsed quinoa and saute over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
- Add 2 cups of water to the quinoa and bring to a boil.
- Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook 18-20 minutes, until all water is absorbed and the quinoa looks like it’s uncoiling.
- Remove from heat and let stand, uncovered, until cool.
- Toast cumin over medium heat in a small skillet for 3 minutes.
- Combine toasted cumin, 5 tablespoons olive oil, lime juice, jalapeno, garlic and salt in a large bowl. Whisk to blend.
- Stir in cooled quinoa, corn kernels, tomatoes, scallions, avocado and cilantro.
Serves 8 as a side dish or light lunch.