Lots of protein in this dish when you combine quinoa with beans. This salad was a favourite on my recent culinary tour of Peru. The method includes tossing the cooked quinoa lightly in simple syrup and then toasting it. What a lovely way to add flavour and crispiness to the quinoa.
Method: In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil. Add quinoa and sauté for 3 minutes. Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook until al dente (up to 15 minutes if using white quinoa and up to 30 minutes if using red or black quinoa). Drain and cool. In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa, beans, yellow pepper, tomatoes, corn and chives. In a small bowl, combine lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper; pour over mixture and toss. Serve on lettuce topped with shredded or cubed cheese.
*Check the cooking directions on the package of quinoa. Generally you add 1½ cups of water for every 1 cup of rinsed quinoa, bring it to a boil and simmer covered for 12 to 15 minutes for white quinoa and up to 30 minutes for red or black, until soft and fluffy. Check to make sure you do not run out of water while simmering. An interesting method to preparing quinoa for salads in Peru is to cook quinoa as mentioned here, drain and soak in simple syrup, drain and place on baking sheet to bake at 350 F for about 20 to 30 minutes (until slightly crisp). This method crisps up the quinoa and makes it slightly sweeter. Note that black and red quinoa have more of a nutty flavour than white quinoa. Simple syrup is easy to make: take 1 part water and 1 part white sugar and place in saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar crystals are dissolved (a minute or two). Remove from heat, cool and store in refrigerator in sealed glass jar.