Late last week, I arrived home from my first business trip. I graduated from college 6 months ago and it’s still weird to think that I am old enough to dress in Ann Taylor slacks and catch a 6am flight to San Fran. Pre-trip I was looking forward to all the perks: hotel points and airline miles are consultants’ crack, right? However day 1.5 of the trip and I learned that business travel means eating out every meal (well duh!). By eating out every meal I mean scarfing down an overly sweet scone for breakfast, burger and fries for lunch, and lamb feast for dinner. Don’t get me wrong, I like my deep fried fish and chips, but too much is too much.
So the second I got home I sprinted to the fridge, threw open the door, and sprang for anything with some colour. And then a miracle occurred: the avocado that I left in the fridge all week was as bright as granny smith apple, the tomatoes hadn’t wrinkled, and my cilantro still showed some spunk. I immediately tossed some red quinoa in a pot and furiously chopped the fresh vegetables in my fridge. I tossed another pan on the stove to heat a cup of roasted corn, grabbed the cilantro salad dressing from my fridge and bing-bam-boom tossed all the vegetables together. I finished the salad off with a zest of a lime and plated it next to the red quinoa. The result: a refreshing salad with creamy cilantro dressing and filling quinua. Each bite felt like summer: sweet and crunchy corn, fresh herbs, and creamy avocado. It’s one of those meals I could eat every night and never get sick of. I’m currently calculating the amount of dry ice it would take to keep my Creamy Mexican Salad fresh on my flight to Pittsburgh Monday morning.
Alex Milling is a recent graduate of Northwestern University who in the last 48 hours has eaten at least 20 cups of quinoa.
Mexican Avocado and Corn Salad with Red Quinoa
Adapted from Trader Joe’s Red Quinoa Box
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup red quinoa
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup frozen roast corn, defrosted
1 avocado, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
Zest from 1 lime
3/4 cup cilantro salad dressing (preferably from Trader Joe’s)
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
Heat chicken broth and quinoa in pot on high heat. When the broth begins to boil, turn down to simmer and partially cover with lid. Let cook 12-15 minutes, then turn off the head and leave the lid on for 5-10 more minutes. Fluff the quinoa, and when it’s cool enough to handle, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.
While the quinoa is cooking combine corn, avocados, tomatoes and red onion. Add lime zest and toss with cilantro dressing. Gently mix in cilantro and season to taste.
Enjoy vegetable salad with a mound of red quinoa.