Peruvian Quinoa Salad with Queso Fresco
I have to admit, I am last on the bandwagon when it comes to cooking with quinoa. My bad. In fact, I am sure my bestie / foodie friend Gina is laughing at me now as she reads this post. I know quinoa has gained popularity over the last several years, but I honestly have never cooked with it. My bad, again.
When I attended the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration in Walt Disney World several weeks ago, quinoa was served at several of the lunches and dinners. Quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse, full of fiber and protein. It was then I realized not only its health benefits but also how versatile it was.
Well, I finally crawled out from under that rock and experimented with this South American whole grain.
I’d like to introduce you to Peruvian Quinoa Salad with Queso Fresco – my first quinoa dish everrrrrrrrrr! You can stop laughing now Gina.
Have you ever heard of Raw Spice Bar? Raw Spice Bar is a really cool company which offers freshly ground spice blends from around the world delivered right to your door each month. Think of it as a “spice of the month club.” For a $6 fee each month, subscribers receive 3 different spice blends from one geography or region, enough to create 3 dishes serving 8-12 people. Recipes are also included with your spice order. It’s pretty unique and lets you experience global flavors you may have not tried before.
As was the case with my spice pack. I received the May Spice Blends which focused on The Andes in Peru. I received the popular Aji Amarillo, Peruvian Spice Rub, and Pink Peppercorn Blend. I have never made anything Peruvian so it was really fun to experiment. Then, when I realized that quinoa originated from the Andes region too, I knew I just had to create something with it.
I used red quinoa for this dish but you can really use any type you like. I also tried to stick with the traditional Peruvian ingredients of beans, cilantro, queso fresco and corn. This was really delicious. This Peruvian Quinoa Salad with Queso Fresco perfect for a weeknight or even a party because a little goes a long way.
I hope you enjoy. Let me know how you like it. Don’t forget to check out the Raw Spice Bar website for more information about their service.
- 3 cups red quinoa cooked and cooled
- 1 cup queso fresco
- 1/2 cup corn
- 1/2 cup black beans drained
- 1/2 cup red onion finely diced
- 1/2 cup red pepper finely diced
- 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
- 2 teaspoons Aji Amarillo
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Cook quinoa according to package directions. Cool completely.
- Cut queso fresco into small cubes.
- Finely dice onion, pepper and cilantro.
- Add quinoa to a medium bowl.
- Mix in queso fresco, corn, black beans, onion. pepper, and cilantro.
- Add seasoning to salad and mix together.
- Add fresh lime juice, vinegar and olive oil and toss to coat.
Disclosure: I received product from Raw Spice Bar to help facilitate this post and create an original recipe. As always, opinions are 100% my own.
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Raw Spice Bar sounds cool Melissa, and love this unusual regional dish!
Melissa, Like you, I was late to the quinoa party. I’ve discovered that dry toasting it helps a lot to create a flavor and give it more “heft.” (Left untoasted quinoa seems too light to me if that makes sense.) I love how you’ve taken the Peruvian roots of the grain and turned the flavors into a salad.