I love quinoa, and I love salsa, but never had I thought of combining them in the same dish until attending a Chicago media event to preview upcoming menu items at the Corner Bakery. One of the dishes they served was a quinoa salad made with a corn and black bean salsa. I was pretty excited to get back and make it myself.
Making Salads with Quinoa
I make a lot of quinoa around here. My Veggie Quinoa Burgers are probably my favorite, and most kid friendly way to make quinoa. In the winter time, it also shows up in soup form in a Red Lentil and Quinoa Soup. However, summers are all about quinoa salads. Usually that means simple salads involving quinoa, vinegar, oil, vegetables and herbs. That’s a solid pattern to follow mixing in your favorite of each category.
This is even easier….it’s just mixing quinoa with salsa. Again, not sure why I didn’t think of this before.
Homemade vs Restaurant Style Salsa
The corn and black bean salsa here is going to be “restaurant style”. It’s unlike most homemade salsas or what you get in a jar. To do this, you’ll need a food processor. It also makes use of canned tomatoes. Since there are only about 4 weeks a year when one can get truly fresh tomatoes in Chicago, I’m just fine with using canned the rest of the time. It’s also a heck of a lot easier and more consistent.
Corn is really the same way. The really good sweet corn only has a few weeks each summer when it’s in its prime. So frozen corn is just fine the rest of the year. It’s getting mixed into a salsa, not served with a rare fine wine, after all. If you do have fresh corn, I’d recommend roasting it first instead of boiling for the best flavor. Cook the ears on a grill or in an oven (wrapped in foil) for 15 minutes at 450 degrees.
Quick and easy salsa made in a food processor with canned tomatoes
- 2 Cups Quinoa
- 4 Cups Water
- 2 Cans Diced Tomatoes
- 3 Cloves Garlic
- 1/2 Cup White Onion roughly chopped (about half of an onion)
- 1 Lime Juiced
- 1 Jalapeño (amount is up to you)
- 1/4 Cup Cilantro Leaves
- 1 Cup Cooked Corn Kernels about 2 ears
- 1 Can Black Beans
Cook the Quinoa (2:1 ratio) in the water until fluffy, about 30 minutes. Set aside and cool when done.
Place the garlic cloves in a food processor (with a little salt and pepper) and pulse a few times to chop it up
Pour in one can of tomatoes, liquid and all. Drain the other can in a colander and rinse off in the sink. Place these tomatoes in the processor as well
Add the onion, lime juice, jalapeño (chopped, de-ribbed and de-seeded to lower heat) and cilantro leaves and run for about 30 seconds. Check the seasoning, salsa loves salt
Pour into a large bowl and mix in the quinoa, corn and black beans.