Quinoa (keen´-wa), an ancient grain native to the Andes Mountains of South America, makes a terrific base for this Latin-leaning main-dish salad. Quinoa has almost twice as much protein as other whole grains. Cook it in the morning, or a day ahead, so it has time to chill.

Quinoa Steak Salad

Ingredients

1 cup uncooked quinoa*
1/3 cup + 2 Tbsp. NAKANO Seasoned Rice Vinegar Roasted Garlic
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. hot pepper sauce or 1 small jalapeno, seeded, deveined and minced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 avocado, peeled and diced
2-3 Tbsp. diced red onion
4 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
4 steaks, 4-6 oz. each
Ground cumin to taste
Salt & pepper to taste
Lettuce leaves

Preparation

Prepare quinoa as package directs.* Allow to cool 15 minutes then spread out on a shallow dish or tray. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.

For dressing, stir together 1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar, oil, salt and hot pepper sauce.

Transfer chilled quinoa to a medium bowl. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the dressing and the 2 tablespoons additional rice vinegar. Sprinkle on 2 tablespoons of the cilantro; stir.

For salsa, combine the remaining dressing with tomatoes, avocado, red onion and the remaining cilantro; stir.

Coat a heavy frying pan with a little oil. Rub about 1/2 teaspoon cumin on each side of each steak. Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until done as desired.

Lay lettuce leaves on four plates. Divide quinoa among each plate. Place cooked steaks on top and spoon salsa over.

*Notes: One cup raw quinoa makes about 4 cups cooked. Prepare more if desired; just splash on an extra tablespoon or two of Nakano when making the quinoa part of the salad. The steaks may be grilled.

Makes 4 – 6oz. steak servings

*Recipe and image courtesy of Nakano.*