Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

Serves: 4 – 6

I’m mad about quinoa! The first time I tasted this tasty grain – technically it’s a seed – was during a trip to Peru where it’s often used like rice. Native to the Andes region, this little seed is packed full of nutrients including iron, magnesium, potassium and by the way it’s also a source of complete protein. Did I mention it was also gluten-free? Yep…these little guys are a super food so it’s no wonder they were a staple in the Inca diet. Try swapping out rice for quinoa to add a nutritious, tasty boost to any dish. This salad uses the pseudocereal with creamy beans, sweet tomato and crunchy green onions. Healthy but tasty; light yet filling.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of quinoa
  • 3 green onions
  • 1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans (14 oz)
  • 4 oz of goat cheese (optional)
  • ¼ cup EVOO
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½  tsp pepper

Prep It:

  • Slice the tomatoes in half and place in a large bowl.
  • Next chop the green onions, the greens and whites, and add them to the tomatoes.
  • Drain the beans in a colander or a strainer and rise to remove the canning juices. Add the bowl with the other ingredients. Place the bowl in the refrigerator to chill while you prepare the rest of the dish.
  • Place the quinoa in fine mesh strainer and rinse it thoroughly under water. The seeds are coated with saponin which is a natural chemical which acts as a natural defense against birds. It’s going to get a bit foamy and soap like so rinse it for a good minute or two to get all that junk off.

Cook It:

  • Add 1 ½ cups of water to medium sauce pan (1.5 quarts is perfect). Add the rinsed quinoa, a small pinch of salt and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook for 12 – 15 minutes or until the water is completely absorbed. Cooking quinoa is similar to cooking rice. Once the quinoa is cooked, fluff it with a fork and allow it to cool for a few minutes.
  • While the quinoa cools, add EVOO, salt, pepper and cumin to the veggies. Stir to combine the ingredients. Add the quinoa and stir once more to incorporate everything.

Serve It:

  • Serve this room temperature or chilled. Either way it’s tasty! Top with a bit of crumbled goat cheese and chow down.
  • This light side dish goes well with grilled chicken or tuna. It would make a great lunch as well with a fried or poached egg on top.
  • Change it up!
    • Not a fan of goat cheese? Try a bit of crumbled blue cheese or gorgonzola instead.
    • Add any other type of bean you prefer; chickpeas, navy beans or kidney beans would all go well.
    • Try cooking the quinoa in chicken or veggie stock for added flavor.
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