Okay, so Moe’s Southwest Grill doesn’t actually serve quinoa.
But Moe’s (and Chipotle) did serve as inspiration for this recipe. It was Monday, I had to cook dinner from odds and ends, my partner and I are on different work schedules so we’d been missing out on our regular “Moe Monday” burrito bowl lunch deals. And he’s always raving about Chipotle’s cilantro-lime rice.
Southwest Quinoa was born. Fluffy protein-rich quinoa, your choice of beans, lots of fresh veggies, a hint of heat and Mexican spices, and a tangy lime vinaigrette dressing. Serve warm or chilled. What’s not to love?
Ingredients for Moe’s Southwest Quinoa
1 Cup Quinoa
2 Cups Water
1 Avocado, diced
1 15 oz. Can Black or Pinto Beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 Sweet Vidalia Onion (or mild Red Onion), chopped
Handful of Cherry or Grape Tomatoes, halved or quartered – about 1 to 1 1/2 cups – whatever looks good to you
1/4 Cup Black Olives, sliced (Optional but very nice, if you like olives)
1 small Jalapeno Pepper, diced small (remove seeds for less heat)
Handful Fresh Cilantro, chopped
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Salt (or to taste)
1 Teaspoon Ground Roasted Cumin
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Juice of 1-2 Limes
Instructions for Moe’s Southwest Quinoa:
Sort and rinse quinoa in several washes of water (just like you would rice). Add to pot with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer as directed on package – usually about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. You should be able to see the “ring” around the quinoa but the quinoa should not be “popped.” Remove from heat.
While quinoa is cooking:
Add beans, onion, tomato, olives, and jalapeno pepper to a large mixing bowl. Stir gently a few times to mix.
Make the dressing. Mix the olive oil, salt, cumin, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and lime juice in a small bowl with a whisk (or put in a small jar and shake).
When quinoa is done:
Add the quinoa to the bean/onion/tomato/olive/pepper mixture. Stir gently. Add diced avocado, cilantro, and lime dressing. Mix again to distribute dressing evenly.
Serve immediately or chill for several hours in the refrigerator. If it’s a cold night, this is also good heated up stovetop or microwave right before serving.
Notes on Moe’s Southwest Quinoa:
Those with a more delicate palate may wish to leave out the jalapeno pepper.
In the summer, you could also add fresh corn kernels scraped off an ear of fresh corn.