It is finally getting warmer here in Connecticut and I cannot wait until we are in the 60’s consistently. Watching my son’s baseball games and catching up with fellow baseball moms, being outdoors more, and snatching up all the fresh produce that’s starting to pop up this time of year are a few of the things I’m looking forward to.
I made this Mexican Corn Quinoa Salad for our finale women’s Bible study last week. We have a tradition of having a little celebration at the end of each of our studies. I’m always trying to concoct something new for our gatherings, while keeping it on the healthier side.
With the weather being so fickle (we actually had sleet and snow just the other day), I toyed with making a warm Mexican Corn Quinoa Casserole, but on the day of the party, the sun was shining and temperatures actually hit 60 degrees, so this salad was born.
The idea behind this salad comes from the Mexican street food called Esquites, which is served in little cups. It’s a mixture of boiled or sautéed corn, mayonnaise, Cojita cheese, cilantro and chili powder. Sometimes jalapeño peppers are added too. What I love about Esquites is the combination of sweet (from the corn), spicy (chili powder), and salty (Cojita cheese).
I find pan roasting the corn brings out the natural sugars and makes it taste even sweeter.
Let’s talk a little about the health benefits of corn – whole corn that is, not processed. I have to be honest – for years, I didn’t consider corn a healthy vegetable. It wasn’t until I picked up a copy of The World’s Healthiest Foods a few years ago, that I started paying more attention to the unique nutritional profile that different fruits and vegetables have.
Here are a couple of fun facts about corn you might be interested in:
- Corn is high in both soluble and insoluble fiber. We need both kinds of fiber in our diets. Dietary fiber helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower our risk of heart disease.
- Corn contains two important carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin), which are relatives of vitamin A that support eye health and may have other disease-preventing properties.
- Corn is a good source of B vitamins (folate, B1, B3, B5, B6) which are essential for energy production and making red blood cells
The important thing to remember here is to eat corn in its whole form.
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One winner will be chosen randomly from all the entries. This giveaway runs until 11:59PM ET on 4/14/2014. THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED.
No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Open to US residents age 18 and older. This sweepstakes is sponsored by the Florida Sweet Corn Exchange in partnership with Kitchen PLAY. One prize of a $50 Visa gift card will be awarded randomly to one eligible entrant. To be eligible to win, reader must request to be added to the Sweet Corn Love Pinterest Board maintained by Jeanette’s Healthy Living), via the comments on this post. Once added to the group board, he/she must then add one pin featuring sweet corn to the group board during the sweepstakes period. This promotion begins at 9:00 AM ET on 04/07/2014 and ends at 11:59 PM ET on 04/14/2014. Winner will be selected randomly on 04/15/2014 from all eligible entries and notified by email. Winner must provide shipping address within 48 hours of notification, at which time a new winner will be chosen randomly from all remaining eligible entries. Odds of winning depend on final number of eligible entries. Total value of prize is $50, and no cash will be awarded in exchange for the prize.
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 3 cups corn
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups cooked quinoa
- 2½ cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1½ cups cooked black beans
- 1 cup cojita cheese (feta or romano cheese would also work), crumbled
- 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced
- 3 tablespoons scallions, minced
- 2 limes, juiced
- 1½ teaspoon chili powder
- a few dashes of cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt, to taste
- fresh ground pepper, to taste
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Saute corn and garlic until corn has some brown spots (that's the caramelization that makes the corn even sweeter). Transfer to a large bowl and toss in the rest of the ingredients. Season to your liking with additional chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post by Kitchen PLAY in partnership with the Florida Sweet Corn Exchange for their “Put a Little Sweet in Your Step” event.