This pretty composed salad features quinoa, a grain that was a staple food of the ancient Aztecs of South America. Quinoa has a nutritional profile superior among grains, with high-quality protein and an abundance of vitamins and minerals. With a distinctive yet mild flavor and aroma, quinoa cooks to a light fluffy texture in only 15 minutes, making it a great quick grain. It is now widely available in natural food stores and some supermarkets.
This salad is a tasty and nourishing meal all by itself.
1 cup quinoa, well rinsed
1 cup thawed frozen corn kernels
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 or 3 scallions, minced
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
1-pound can pinto, pink, or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 heaping cup diced canned tomatoes
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into strips
1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Add quinoa and simmer gently, covered, for 15 minutes. When the quinoa is done, remove it from the heat, fluff it with a fork, and transfer it to a mixing bowl. Combine the quinoa with the remaining ingredients for the quinoa-corn salad and toss well.
2. While the quinoa is cooking, combine all the ingredients for the bean salad in another bowl and toss together.
3. To assemble the Aztec Platter, transfer the quinoa-corn salad onto a large platter and spread evenly to within an inch or so of the edge. Pushing the salad outward from the center, make a well in the center of the platter about 5 inches in diameter. Mound the bean salad into the well, and sprinkle with a handful of pumpkin seeds.
4. Arrange olives and pepper strips around the edge of the platter.