Monday, June 6, 2011

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

Yes. This is another dish with quinoa. And black beans. But it's cold, and it's light, and it's refreshing, and even if 3 of your last 5 meals have involved quinoa and/or black beans, this is so worth making. It's very versatile and it's really an open canvas ready for you to make your own magic. The possibilities are truly endless!

This salad is not only quick to throw together (especially if you have extra quinoa laying around) but is always a great crowd pleaser wherever it goes.  It goes to potlucks and dinner parties, and sometimes it’s spooned over a bed of salad for lunch.   We hope you enjoy it and make it often.

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad
Serves 8

Active time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serving suggestions: Eat with Burgers, Lentil Tacos, Sloppy Joes or a chilled soup.

What you'll need:

  • 1 1/4 cup dry quinoa + 2.5 cups water OR 4 cups cooked millet
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can corn, rinsed and drained OR 2 cups frozen, thawed OR 2 cups small diced carrots
  • 1 bell pepper, any color, diced
  • 1 ½ cups skinned and diced cucumber OR 1 ½ cups chopped celery
  • 4 scallions, both parts sliced thin OR ⅓ cup finely diced red onion
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro (opt, but lovely)
  • 3 TBLS lime juice
  • 3 TBLS red wine vinegar
  • 3 TBLS sugar
  • 3 TBLS olive oil OR to make this oil-free, omit oil and use 4 TBLS of other liquids (this is the most flavorful method as well)
  • 11/2 - 2 tsp cumin (to taste)

What you'll do:

  • Prepare grain.
  • Make the dressing by whisking all dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.
  • When quinoa is done, transfer to a large bowl and let cool. Add all salad ingredients and toss well.
  • Drizzle dressing over salad and toss well with salt and pepper to taste.

Time Tip:  

  • Salad may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.

Nutrition Facts (per serving, 1/8 of recipe): with oil
Calories 243 (Calories from fat 66); Total Fat 7g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 123mg; Potassium 445mg; Total Carbohydrate 38g (Dietary Fiber 7g); Sugars 7g; Protein 8g; Vitamins/Minerals - Vitamin A 182 IU; Vitamin C 20mg; Calcium 45mg; Iron 3mg; Folate 99mcg


  1. Hi, Sarah! I made this recipe again for our neighborhood block party and it was a hit! Each time I make it, I learn a few more things that I want to remember for next time, so here it is just to share....

    (1) Cooking quinoa in rice cooker is still preferred over stovetop. It's quicker, less hassle, and turns out more fluffy. It also toasts the quinoa a bit in places to give it a more nutty flavor.

    (2) Don't ever replace black beans w. red for this recipe. I think I did that when I made it for you the first time, and it just tastes too "beany"/pasty that way.

    (3) Although I generally prefer frozen corn, canned corn (drained) tastes better here! Perhaps it's the little salt already added in. ... and the texture is just not as flat.

    (4) I prefer red, orange, or yellow peppers over green for this salad.

    (5) I used juice from 1.5 fresh limes this time and it made a difference (over bottled lime juice). And if you chill a day ahead, I'd use the juice from the leftover 1/2 lime to "refresh" the salad. For some reason, whenever I have this salad as leftovers or if I make it a day early, it tastes really bland the following day... so I refresh it with lime each time right before serving. THIS is the ingredient I'd readily use more over the red wine vinegar.

    (6) Constantly quick-whisking the juice/salt/cumin mixture while slowly adding oil in a stream is also important. I don't think I did this as carefully in the past, but it made a difference.

  2. OH, and I generally DOUBLE this recipe... Thus, the 1.5 limes I used is approx. 10 Tbsp vs. the 5 T. the recipe calls for!!!

  3. Mmmm I think this is the recipe that E brought over to Rebekah's birthday party the other weekend when we were up there visiting! Sooo tasty...and a hit with the Husband, too!

    1. it is indeed!! glad you guys liked it!