Southwest Quinoa SaladPhoto Credit : Joe St. Pierre
To make a really good vinaigrette, you need an emulsifier—something that keeps the oil and vinegar (or in this case, lime juice) from separating and gives the dressing a smooth, almost creamy texture. Here, tomato paste does the trick. In addition to making the dressing for this recipe extra tomatoey, it helps bring together all the other flavors. Don’t skip letting the quinoa cool completely before you dress the salad, or it will end up less luscious than intended.
Juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 garlic clove, grated
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
¹⁄8 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
To make the dressing, whisk together the lime juice, tomato paste, garlic, salt, paprika, and chili powder in a small bowl. Add the oil in a slow, steady stream, while whisking vigorously until emulsified.
To assemble the salad, combine the beans, tomatoes, corn, onion, and bell peppers in a large bowl. Add the quinoa and dressing, then stir to evenly coat. Spread onto a platter and top with the avocado, queso fresco, and cilantro. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Yields 6 to 8 servings.
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
¾ cup frozen corn, thawed
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
½ small red bell pepper, chopped
½ small yellow bell pepper, chopped
3 cups cooked quinoa, chilled
1 avocado, diced
¼ cup crumbled queso fresco (or feta)
¼ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro