Saturday, October 29, 2011

Quinoa Bean and Veg Salad

Since when does healthy taste so good?!  ALL THE TIME!  You just don't know it till you try it.

This salad looked SO GOOD on The Church Cook that I new I would just have to try it.  The colors looked beautiful.  Kay used red quinoa, and i was in a pinch to cook and run so I used the original white kind.

I don't talk about nutrition a ton on here, but every now that then there's a horn to toot.  Quinoa has been known as a superfood (meaning huge bang for your buck: lots of pros, no cons) for centuries.  Originally and still mainly cultivated in the Andes, the Incans depended on quinoa daily calling it "the mother of all grains."  Technically it's not a grain, it's a seed.  It carries great vitamin power too: magnesium, folate, iron, copper, and phosphorus.  It's gluten free, it has a low glycemic index, it's packed with protein and fiber.  People!  Must I go on?  This stuff is a gift from God!  And so versatile too.  So here's my take on The Church Cook's Quinoa and Black Bean Salad.

I did a double batch.  To be honest this stuff multiplies (similar to rice) so there really was no need.  (I'll go ahead and post a single batch size... good Lord!)  I had enough for the church picnic, some for the fridge and some to take to two sets of friends over the weekend.  But... I did not get sick of it.  So yum.

Quinoa Bean and Veg Salad


1 1/2 cups white quinoa
1 tbls salt, add when boiling quinoa
1 can black beans, 14 oz, rinsed, and drained
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels thawed
1 cup finely chopped colored sweet peppers
½ lg (or one small) jalapeno chile seeds removed and then minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions

5 tbls fresh lime juice
1 tsp salt
1 clove of garlic, grated
1 tsp ground cumin, or to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/3 cup olive oil
Freshly ground pepper and salt to taste

I do all my chopping first.  It takes the stress out of the cooking time.  Timing is everything and you want to be ready.

Go ahead and make your dressing by combining all of the second set of ingredients.  Marinades and dressings do much better when you give them some time to sit.  It's like putting a group of random people in a hot tub.  At first it's kind of awkward, but after a while you have to talk because you've already accidentally played footsie and their kid splashed you.  In the end, everyone knows each other and all is well.

In researching quinoa, I found some really helpful tips.  Always rinse it (a few times) before cooking.  It removes a grit that can add to the "mushy" factor.  We're going for fluffy "cloud like," not mush.  Most quinoa will come with cooking instructions.  Usually a 1 1/2-2 cups water to 1 cup quinoa ratio will do the trick.  Error on using less water because by rinsing the quinoa you're adding some water as well.

Similar to pasta, PLEASE salt your water.  Simmer quinoa in water for 10-15 min depending on directions on your package.

THEN to achieve extra fluffiness, drain quinoa into a cheese cloth (I used a really thin towel) in a colander.  Let it steam for about 10 min over boiling water.

Heap your mass into a large bowl.  Allow to cool a little bit.  If you want to fluff it, USE A FORK.  Put your spoon down.  Similar to couscous, you must be delicate.

This bland steamed seed is in need of some lovin'.  Kinda like going to the spa with all this boiling and steaming and fluffing.  Now to add in the goodies.

Strain your beans and corn.  Add all the other veggies too!  Now for the dressing.  The quinoa will drink it right up.

A little more fluffing and it's ready to go.  Taste at end to see if it needs any more salt and pepper.  There is so much flavor going on with the lime and cumin though, you'll be surprised.  This was yummy and healthy.  It saved well for about a week.

Go ahead.  Be healthy.  Go crazy!


  1. Noelle, healthy can indeed taste great. I make a very similar salad with wheat berries. Lime is one of my favorite ways to make a vinaigrette. Best of all, second helpings are guilt-free.

  2. PS: Congrats! You're a Featured Publisher!

  3. Noelle! This looks fabulous! And thank you so much for connecting with me! Looking forward to getting to know you better. :)

  4. This is now my favorite go to salad. I love having it handy in the fridge. About to make it for the third time….I don't think we will ever get tired of this one! Thanks Noelle!

    1. Definitely a favorite in our house too. My cheater version is just quinoa, black beans, green onion, lime and cumin! But the full version is a delight! So glad you are enjoying it Karen!

  5. yes…and now for another go of this recipe. I gave some to Nate and Christina and it is now on request for Easter lunch!

    1. What an honor to be included for Easter lunch!