SCTK: Mexican Quinoa Salad with Orange Lime Dressing

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By Alaina Coffey, Senior Dietetics Student, Sargent College

This Mexican quinoa salad recipe, which includes traditional ingredients such as corn, black beans, and avocado, was very popular among students at the test kitchen. One of the essential goals of SCTK is to create healthier alternatives of familiar favorite foods that students enjoy. This dish had the essence of a salad from Chipotle Mexican Grill – but is a far healthier alternative! Chipotle is a BU campus favorite and one of my personal favorites, but the problem with this type of fast-casual restaurant is that dishes typically contain very high sodium, and portion sizes are generally very large. SCTK provides students with a healthy alternative Mexican salad that is low in saturated fat, high in plant protein, and low in sodium (salt was set to the side). Additionally, this salad is quick and simple to make at home. I believe students in the dining halls and around campus would enjoy this salad – it is filling, satisfying, and has familiar flavors of campus favorites such as Chipotle and Qdoba Mexican grills.

We made a few adjustments to the SCTK version of this recipe at the test kitchen. Salt and Sriracha hot sauce were set to the side to allow students to add these items to taste; I found the salad was plenty flavorful without added salt. Additionally, the dressing was diluted with water because originally it was very thick. Karen suggested omitting garlic from the recipe as garlic throws off the flavor profile, and perhaps using fewer red onions. For serving, the quinoa salad was placed over a bed of mixed greens and topped with dressing. Students enjoyed the salad served this way, and also suggested the salad could be made into lettuce wraps or a whole-wheat wrap sandwich. Overall, I believe students in the dining halls and around campus would be very pleased with the taste of this recipe – further, health-conscious students would be pleased to know they can enjoy their favorite comfort foods without the added fats and sodium. Give this recipe a try at home!

Sargent Choice
Mexican Quinoa Salad with Orange Lime Dressing
(Recipe modified from the Minimalist Baker)
Yield: 3 servings

Ingredients:
Salads:
5-6 cups mixed greens
1 cup cooked quinoa (red or white)
½ cup corn (frozen or canned)
1 cup cooked black beans (seasoned with ¼ teaspoon each salt, cumin, chili & garlic powder)
¼ cup red onion
1 orange, segmented
½ ripe avocado, chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Dressing:
½ ripe avocado
1 lime, juiced (~4 tablespoons, *note that some reviewers thought this was too much)
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon sweetener of choice (maple syrup or sugar)
1 teaspoon hot sauce (such as tabasco)
¼ teaspoon cumin powder
⅛ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon minced cilantro
3 tablespoon olive oil

Directions:
1. Begin by preparing quinoa, first by thoroughly rinsing ½ cup quinoa in a fine mesh strainer, then bringing to a bowl with 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook on low for 15-20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, prepare salad ingredients by chopping vegetables, segmenting orange, and warming black beans with the salt, cumin, chili and garlic powder.
3. Prepare dressing by adding all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blending until creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed.
4. Salad can either be plated and served with dressing on the side or tossed with dressing before serving. ENJOY!

Nutrition w/dressing per serving
Calories 460
Saturated Fat 4 g
Protein 10 g
Carbohydrate 47 g
Fiber 12 g
Sodium 590 mg

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