The proof? I honestly haven't done anything different recently, aside from having a real, full-time job, and already I've dropped six pounds in two weeks! Though we all know I can eat well, I just haven't been motivated to move well until now, so this is pretty awesome. But it doesn't mean that I'm going to lapse into some crazy brie en croute eating frenzy. I may enjoy my guilty pleasures, but overall I prefer eating healthfully in spite of my financial woes. And because I know many of you have come to view my site as a guide for how to do just that (thank you!!!), I refuse to start off the year with something baked, sweet, or otherwise "evil".
With a decent amount of red quinoa to play with and my newly reorganized spice rack reminding me of all that cumin seed I had on hand, I decided to make a smoky, zesty vinaigrette to complement the flavors & textures of the veggies and quinoa. The result? Absolute quinoa salad perfection! Tender asparagus, sweet corn & peppers, crispy scallions & shallots mixed together with the mother grain and tossed with that smoky vinaigrette is just what the doctor ordered for a fabulous start to healthful new year eating. And after dusting off my beloved pilates videos, I'm confident I'll be seeing my pseudo-six pack in no time at all - for a lot less than many folks are paying for at gyms or weight loss centers right now! Woo hoo!
Red Quinoa & Asparagus Salad with Toasted Cumin Vinaigrette (makes 3-4 servings; total cost per serving: $2)
2 c cooked red quinoa (regular quinoa is also fine)
6-8 medium asparagus spears, cut into 1" pieces
3/4 c red pepper strips
3/4 c sweet kernel corn
1/2 c finely chopped shallots
1/2 c chopped scallions (whites & green tops)
Toasted Cumin Vinaigrette
1 T whole cumin seed
1/2 T ground cumin
1/4 c key lime or lemon juice
1/3 c apple cider vinegar
1/2 c olive oil
1 t honey
Salt & pepper to taste
Heat a dry skillet over medium heat and add the toasted cumin seeds & ground cumin. Toast for about 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant, stirring constantly to avoid burning. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Combine the oil, key lime juice, vinegar, honey, toasted cumin, and salt & pepper, and whisk together vigorously until mixed well. Set aside.
In a large bowl combine the quinoa, asparagus, corn, peppers, shallots and scallions and toss together. Add the dressing and mix well. Serve immediately or refrigerate for about 30 minutes to allow the flavors to incorporate, and enjoy!