In a quest to be creative with my food, I often use Mexican flavors to spice things up. Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, I wanted to introduce a simple, but flavorful Mexican quinoa salad that works well as either a side dish or the main event.

Crunchy tortilla chips give this salad great texture, so they are a must. But other than that, you can rummage in your pantry and add as you like. Traditional add-ons might include beef, chicken, black or pinto beans, salsa, corn and avocado.

As always, be liberal with the cheese or let the kids sprinkle it on themselves so they feel involved. You can eat this dish in a bowl, as we do in our family, serve it as a salad over a bowl of greens, or pop it into a crunchy or soft taco shell. Pair it with a delicious horchata or an agua fresca and you’ve got yourself a partay!

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Mexican Quinoa Bowls
Serves 4

1 cup quinoa

2 handfuls of crushed tortilla chips

1 15-ounce can of black beans

1 cup store-bought mild salsa

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1 cup frozen corn

½ pound of ground meat such as beef or chicken (optional)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Small handful of chopped cilantro

Avocado cut into ½-inch cubes

Taco shells or salad greens (optional)

Directions

1. Cook quinoa according to the directions on the packaging.

2. If using meat, cook in a medium pan with olive oil for about 8-10 minutes or until cooked through.

3. Fluff quinoa with a fork and then add the rest of the ingredients including the meat, if using.

4. Top with shredded cheese, avocado and chopped cilantro.

5. Place into taco shells or salad greens, if using.

Judith Rich creates kid-inspired recipes and writes about her family’s dining out adventures in and around Portland at her blog, Eaty Pie. Find her at eatypie.com.

Judith Rich
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