The best part of summer is that I get to experiment with fresh produce from the farmer’s market. Yesterday I had bought quite a haul from the downtown Bethesda Farmers’ Market. I had an assortment of multicolored hot and sweet peppers, a lot of multicolored cherry and grape tomatoes and a large chorizo sausage made by a local Amish butcher. So today I combined all these to make a delicious warm Quinoa salad. I charred the peppers on an open flame on the gas stove. Maybe it would have been preferable to grill peppers on a charcoal grill but it was really hot and humid today and so neither my husband nor I wanted to venture out on the code yellow day. I took inspiration from Mexican flavors and dressed the salad with some ground coriander powder, lemon vinaigrette and some fresh cilantro and it turned out to be a delicious dish. It was a well-balanced and flavorful one-bowl meal that my husband and I devoured in flat ten minutes. The charred peppers, chorizo, coriander, lemon zest and cilantro gave it a lot of flavor and the one long hot green pepper gave it quite a kick.
1. ½ of fresh Chorizo sausage
2. An assortment of peppers (I use one long hot green pepper, 4 sweet mini orange bell peppers and two mild banana peppers)
3. ½ of a medium red onion
4. One cup of white quinoa
5. 15-20 small sweet tomatoes of assorted colors
6. 1 tablespoon of freshly ground coriander powder
7. Salt to taste
8. One lemon
9. 1 tablespoon of honey
10. 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
11. A handful of fresh cilantro leaves
1. Wash the quinoa under cold water and drain all the water out of it.
4. On an open gas flame, place the washed and dried chili peppers and char their outside skin evenly on all sides (or as much as possible). The skin of the peppers will start to get blackened and bubble up a little bit. When all the peppers are charred, keep them aside.
5. In a large nonstick pan, add a little bit of oil and start cooking the chorizo sausage on low heat. You just need to cook the outer skin just now – so that it gets browned and crispy on all sides.
6. When the outside of the chorizo is lightly browned, take it out of the pan and chop it in bite sized pieces (it’s okay if it get crumbled in the process) and place it back in the pan to let the inside get cooked.
7. Peel and dice the red onion.
11. If the quinoa is cooked by now, sprinkle a little bit of salt to it and mix everything together and set it aside.
17. Pour half of the dressing over the warm quinoa and place it in a serving bowl (the warm quinoa will absorb a little bit of the dressing).
18. Pour the second half of the dressing over the chopped tomatoes (add a little bit of salt if you’d like to) and stir gently.
19. Pour the cooked chorizo and peppers over the quinoa and gently toss everything together.
20. Add the dressed halved tomatoes to the serving bowl and garnish with the chopped cilantro leaves.
21. Serve the salad while it is still warm or at room temperature. This would be a great packed lunch or a dish that you could take to a potluck or picnic!