Right now, the world is filled with caramels, fruit loafs, chocolate covered what-nots, and sugar plum fairies. Everywhere I look, I see sweets and breads and sweet breads. And I’m definitely not complaining about this. It’s my favorite time of year and I enjoy every bite of it.
But since the holidays bring with them a major candy and carb rush, it’s nice to find some balance in between all the parties and glasses of bubbles. And by balance I mean a Southwestern Quinoa Bowl, complete with homemade BBQ dressing. And blue corn chips.
It’s a lighter, healthier, more colorful version of your favorite taco salad. Which means you can make it to eat for lunch, to snack on while preparing Christmas dinner, or to celebrate the first day of 2014. It will brighten up your diet any time of day or any time of year.
It’s also super easy to make. And while I used ingredients that I already had in my refrigerator, feel free to riff and raff on the recipe. Add in corn or edamame or grated apple or leftover chicken or toasted pumpkin seeds. Skip the BBQ sauce and spritz on some lime or honey mustard or a dollop of cool yogurt or this strawberry based tangy sauce for those on low-potassium diets. Decorate it however you want. Because this is a fiesta for your stomach. So let’s party.
Then, pack it all up in a spill safe container or mason jar and take it to work or on the road during your travels. That way you’ll keep a pep in your step and still save room for dessert.
SOUTHWESTERN QUINOA BOWL with BBQ DRESSING
makes two servings
- 1 cup rinsed quinoa
- 1/2 cup no-salt-added tomato paste
- 1/4 cup berry or apricot jam
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp molasses
- 1/2 tsp no-salt-added garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 cup ready-to-serve no-salt-added pinto beans
- 1/4 tsp salt-free cumin powder
- 1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1/8 tsp salt-free chili powder
- 1/4 red onion, finely diced
- 2 green onions, thinly chopped
- 1/2 large carrot, grated
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- 1 avocado, sliced into chunks
- 2 spoonfuls plain FAGE Greek yogurt
Place the dry quinoa and 2 cups of water in a medium pot. Bring it to a boil and then lower heat and cook covered for 15 minutes, checking every so often and stirring the quinoa so that it doesn’t burn or stick to the bottom of the pot. When the water is absorbed and the quinoa sprouts its little white tendrils, take the pot off of heat and let it stand 5 minutes. Then, remove the lid, fluff with a wooden spoon or fork, and set aside to cool. Side note: this will make about 3 cups of quinoa, so you will have leftovers…ain’t that nice?
In another small pot, mix the tomato sauce, jam, vinegar, molasses, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, and smoked paprika. Bring it to a boil and cook for five minutes. Then lower heat and continue to cook and reduce the sauce for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside to cool.
The, in a medium bowl, mix the pinto beans with the remaining 1/4 tsp garlic powder, cumin, coriander seeds, and chili powder. Mix until combined. (As an option, you can also cook your beans with a little meat too). Set aside.
To assemble, place the quinoa at the bottom of the bowl, layer on all the ingredients from the beans to the avocado. Place a nice heaping spoonful of yogurt in the middle. Drizzle on your sauce. Enjoy.