This dish has been my husband’s most requested dish in the last year….and if my meat-loving husband is requesting salad for dinner – you know it’s good. While this is usually a summertime meal, when you want to stay away from the stove as much as possible, it still hits the spot on a cold winter evening – though pairing this salad with a tart margarita might bring memories of summer floating back.
I took the salad to a New Year’s celebration with a group of our friends this evening. Balancing dietary needs of vegetarians, lactose intolerance and my own gluten intolerance was not problem with this dish. Quinoa might be something new to you, but give it a try. This tiny little grain has a light, earthy flavor on its own, and cooks up to fluffy little orbs that are just waiting to absorb whatever flavor you throw at them. In this case, a spicy/sour combo of lime, jalepeno and cumin provide the primary flavors for this salad. You can also add some leftover roasted chicken to the salad if you wish, or add a little extra heat with some siracha sauce.
Original recipe from epicurious.com
Black Bean Quinoa Salad
Serves 6-8 as a main course
1 1/2 cups quinoa (small disk-shaped seeds)*
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1 cup cooked corn
1 cup finely chopped red//yellow bell pepper
2 jalepenos, cleaned and minced
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh coriander
1/3 cup fresh lime juice, from about 5 limes
1 teaspoon salt, to taste
2 tablespoons ground cumin, or to taste
5 tablespoons olive oil
*available at specialty foods shops and natural foods stores
Making the quinoa
- In a fine mesh sieve, wash quinoa under running water for 1-2 minutes, to remove the natural saponin coating on the seeds. Quinoa will taste soapy if not washed thoroughly.
- Stovetop: In a saucepan of salted boiling water cook quinoa 10 minutes. Drain quinoa in sieve and rinse under cold water. Set sieve over a saucepan of boiling water (quinoa should not touch water) and steam quinoa, covered with a kitchen towel and lid, until fluffy and dry, about 10 minutes (check water level in kettle occasionally, adding water if necessary).
- Rice cooker: use 2 rice cooker cups of quinoa, well rinsed. Place in cooker, and fill cooker with water to the “2 cup line” for white rice. Cook on white/mixed rice setting, fluff quinoa with a fork when it is done cooking.
- While quinoa is cooking, in a small bowl toss beans with vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer quinoa to a large bowl and cool. Add beans, corn, bell pepper, jalapeños, and coriander and toss well.
- In a small bowl whisk together lime juice, salt, and cumin and add oil in a stream, whisking.
- Drizzle dressing over salad and toss well with salt and pepper to taste. Salad may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring salad to room temperature before serving.