Thursday, January 07, 2010

sexi mexi: grilled chimichurri chicken, roasted asparagus and black bean quinoa salad

after a week of binge eating and over drinking, the girls and i decided to scale things back for our ritual weekly dinners. i had found a spicy black bean and quinoa salad on one of my favorite food blogs and i knew this would be the perfect kick start to a healthier new year. for those of you who don't know - quinoa tastes like a fluffly, nutty and crunchy grain, but its actually a seed of a leafy plant related to spinach. i paired it with roasted asparagus and grilled chicken with chimichurri sauce.  chimichurri is a green garlicky sauce that is frequently used in mexican cooking, much like pesto is used in italian cooking.  the meal turned out delicious and us gals weren't afraid to go back for seconds or, um thirds. here's how we did it:

grilled chicken with chimichurri sauce and roasted asparagus
adapted from food & wine

4 chicken breasts
1 cup lightly packed fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes (add more if you like heat)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
1/4 cup evoo

heat grill pan over medium high heat. season chicken breast with evoo and s&p. cook for 4-5 minutes per side, depending on the size. making the sauce is even easier - add the rest of the ingredients in a food processor and mix until it is smooth.  to serve, drizzle a little of the sauce over the grilled chicken - best served when chicken is still warm.

now for the asparagus - heat oven to 400 degrees. coat veggies in evoo and s&p. roast for 15 minutes and you're done. season with a drizzle of lemon juice for the perfect finish!

spicy black bean and quinoa salad
adapted from lastnightsdinner

1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
juice and zest of one lime
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup evoo
1/4 cup red onion, minced
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 15oz can black beans, rinsed and dried
1/4 cup picked fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. cover, reduce to simmer and cook for about 15 minutes and fluff with a fork. whisk the lime juice, zest, chili powder, garlic powder, cilantro, cumin and s&p. using a fork, whisk in the evoo until it becomes the consistency of a salad dressing. add onion, red bell pepper, black beans and quinoa to serving dish and mix together with dressing, stirring until evenly distrusted. this dish could be served hot, warm or cold. we liked it better hot though.

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