Mexi-Salad with Homemade Tortilla Strips

Looking for a way to pack a meal full of super foods and amazing flavors?  With quinoa, black beans, avocado, and much more, this is it.  Mexi-Salad is an ever evolving meal at our house; I never make it the same way twice, but every time it turns out amazing.  Below is the recipe for how I cooked it last night.

Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wa”) is one of the most nutritious of all whole grains.  It is high in fiber, iron, and has eight essential amino acids.  It comes in both white (or light tan) and red and is versatile and easy to cook – and provides a source of protein as well. I buy the Bob’s Red Mill brand.  They rinse it before packaging.  If the brand you buy doesn’t prerinse, do so in a cheese cloth.  It takes away any bitter flavoring.

*Skip the tortilla strips and this meal is a great g/f options.

Mexi-Salad

1 cup quinoa (either color – I used white)
2 T. lime juice
3 tsp. cumin, divided, or more to taste
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1-2 cups fresh salsa
1 T. olive oil
spinach
tomatoes (pictured are both yellow and red cherry tomatoes)
1/2  red pepper, sliced
1/2 orange pepper, sliced
1 can sliced olives
2 cups frozen corn, heated
1-2 avocados, cubed
shredded cheese
4 tortillas
sea salt
olive oil or cooking spray for tortillas

Instructions:

In a one-cup measuring cup, add 2 T. lime juice and fill remainder with water.  Pour lime water and additional 1 c. water into a pan with 1-2 tsp. cumin (depending on taste).  Bring to a boil and add 1 c. quinoa.  Return to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer 12 minutes.  Remove from heat and let stand additional 10-15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray tortillas with olive oil or cooking spray and sprinkle with sea salt.  flip and repeat on other side.  Cut the tortillas into strips and lay out in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crispy and light brown.  Stir once while cooking.

In a skillet, heat 1 Tbls. olive oil and add the black beans, 1-2 tsp. cumin, and salt and pepper to taste.  Saute over medium heat until beans are hot.  Add approx. 1/2 c. fresh salsa and continue cooking until mixture is warm.

Assemble the salad – start with a bed of spinach, add a scoop of the quinoa mixture and a scoop of the beans on top of that.  From there, add veggies to your taste preference (peppers, tomatoes, corn, olives, avocado, cheese, etc.).  Top with additional salsa if it needs additional sauce, and serve with warm tortilla strips.

Food for Thought:

I have never tried doing this as a freezer meal.  However, if I try, I would make the quinoa mixture and freeze in one container.  When reheating the quinoa, you might need additional moisture.  Also, the black bean mixture could be made ahead of time and frozen.  On cooking day, it would be just reheating those two items and serving over the fresh ingredients.  I may try that next time.

This meal was great with my 2 year old as a way to encourage eating the rainbow.  He was able to pick out all the read, orange, yellow, and green foods and even ate a little bit of each!  Add some fresh blueberries and blackberries on the side, you have your whole rainbow for the day covered!

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