This post is, similar to my previous post, a re-creation of Native Foods salad dish that I love . In Native Foods, it is called Ensalada Azteca which is a popular dish in this restaurant. I order this dish as the weather gets warmer in Southern California but I have to admit that I also eat it in winter time (if there is such a thing called winter in So Cal). I don't mean to take away Native Foods business but I thought, hey, not everyone can go to Native Foods so I hope they don't mind that I re-created their dish in the Internet. I changed the recipe so it is not exactly the same.
This salad is very refreshing due to the sweet pungent taste of Mango-Lime dressing. It is also very healthy because it has all the ingredients that are very nutritious for your body. The main ingredient is Quinoa (considered as one of the most perfect food). The other ingredients are chopped green lettuce, Jicama salsa, avocado, Mango-Lime dressing, roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), currants/raisins, and chipotle chili powder.
If you have a Native Foods cookbook, the salad recipe is called Mecca Azteca Salad on page 167. I followed this recipe but made changes to it. Here is what I did:
Cooking quinoa: Rinse 1 cup dry quinoa in cold water and let water run through it several times. Drain well. Toast dry the drained quinoa in a sauce pan for several minutes until they become dry and toasty. Add 2 cups water or vegetarian broth and 1/4 tsp. sea salt. Let it boil, then set the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the water is absorbed. I kept the cooked quinoa in a tupperware in the fridge until serving time.
Making Jicama Salsa: Combine 1 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes, 1 1/2 cup peeled and chopped cucumber, 1 1/2 cup chopped jicama, 1 cup chopped red onion, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional), 4 Tbs. lemon juice and 1/2 to 3/4 tsp. sea salt. I kept this salsa in the fridge until I am ready to assemble everything together. I actually kept it in the fridge for the whole week last week and enjoyed the salad all week long.
Making Mango-Lime salad dressing: I changed the recipe of Native Foods Mango Lime Vinaigrette to a lower fat version and add more ginger to it. Put 1 cup chopped fresh or frozen mango, 1/4 cup canola oil, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, a pinch of xathan gum (optional), 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar, 1 1/2 tsp sea salt, and 3 tsp. grated fresh ginger in a blender. Then, run the blender and puree until smooth and runny like a salad dressing, adjust by adding water as necessary. This dressing is so delicious and tastes like honey mustard dressing, sort of. I kept this dressing all week long in a glass jar.
What's left to do is roasting pumpkin seeds which is very simple. I buy raw pumpkin seeds from the bulk bin and then roast them dry on a non-stick frying pan until they are a little bit browned and crackling. I usually keep roasted pumpkin seeds in a jar to be sprinkled on salads.
Here is the picture of the ingredients of the salad (from top left, clockwise): roasted pumpkin seeds, currants/raisin (I supposed dried cranberries will be good too), jicama salsa, fresh organic avocado, cooked quinoa, and mango-lime dressing.
I chopped 1/4 avocado and mixed it with 1 cup of jicama salsa for 1 serving (just before assembling). To assemble the salad, all week long what I did was bam...bam..bam.. and VOILA, I can eat after only a 5-minutes preparation: start with chopped green lettuce on the bottom the bowl, then add a layer of cooked quinoa, then add a layer of Jicama salsa with avocado in it, drizzled with Mango-Lime dressing, and sprinkled with roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), currants/raisins, and chipotle chili powder. Dig in and yuuumm!