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by Terry Hope Romero
This nutritious salad is loaded with Latin America's greatest hits—corn, tomatoes, peanuts—and of course South American native supergrain, quinoa. Savor immediately to enjoy the amazing combination of the warm quinoa and cool vegetables. For an extra-awesome salad, substitute candied chile peanuts for the plain roasted peanuts.
Serves 4 as a side or starter
Time: 45 minutes
• 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed in a fine-mesh strainer
• 2 cups water
• 2 tablespoons lime juice
• 2 tablespoons good-quality olive oil
• 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
• 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
• 1 tablespoon aji amarillo or aji panca paste
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 red onion, finely chopped
• 1 bunch spinach (about 1/2 pound), well washed and sliced into thin ribbons
• 1 cup corn kernels, lightly blanched or roasted
• 1 large tomato, seeded and diced
• 2/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
• 2/3 cup roasted unsalted peanuts, chopped
1. In a large pan over medium heat, warm the rinsed quinoa until dry and lightly toasted and fragrant, about 6 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the water, bring to a boil, and lower the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa grains are tender, plump, and translucent. Remove from the heat, fluff with a fork, and let cool, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine the lime juice, olive oil, wine vinegar, oregano, aji paste, salt, and onion. Let the onion marinate for the entire time the quinoa is cooking and cooling in the dressing so that it softens and becomes milder. When the quinoa has cooled, add the spinach, corn, tomato, olives, and pea- nuts. Serve immediately.
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