Thursday, January 22, 2009

Quinoa salad

This salad is a little spicy -- though you can make it super spicy, of course -- and it's packed full of healthful ingredients. You can enjoy it as a side dish, but it also makes a very satisfying meatless main dish.

Lots of people wonder what quinoa is. It has a slightly nutty flavor, it's got more protein than other grains (although it's technically a seed), and it can be used as a substitute for rice in most dishes. Check out this NPR link for a thorough explanation.

Spicy quinoa salad (makes about 8 side servings)

3 cups cooked quinoa, chilled

3/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained

3/4 cup cooked edamame, chilled

1 medium zucchini, steamed, diced, and chilled

1 cup cooked corn, chilled

1/4 red onion, minced

1/4 sweet potato, steamed, diced, and chilled

chipotle sauce, to taste (I use about 12-15 shakes of chipotle-flavored Tabasco)

salt and pepper, to taste

1.) Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl.

2.) Refrigerate at least 4 hours, then taste for seasonings, adjust seasoning if necessary, and toss again.

Food fact: According to a 2005 article in the UK's Daily Mail's Mail Online, eating certain spicy foods has its benefits. One major one? It can fight cancer.

"Vegetables such as broccoli and spices like red chilli pepper could be used to combat cancer, researchers have said," reads the article.

"Scientists believe the foods may have a cancer-fighting benefit by slowing or preventing the growth of cancerous tumour cells." To read the whole article, click here.

Today's question: What's your favorite spicy food?

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