Southwest Quinoa Salad

By DK on May 16, 2013
Black Beans Quinoa Salad Recipe | Healthy Quinoa Recipes
When I mention the word "Quinoa", I would assume that at least 99% of you would think "Salad".  Given how popular a "salad quinoa" relationship is, I unfortunately had no takers in my house (except me). The word Salad is a mnemonic to bland and/or cold and/or something that's quite meager in the protein department in my Vegetarian household. Very few salads make through to the main table that doesn't leave my husband nutritionally wanting yet speaks to his quirk of it being "not cold".
Black Beans Quinoa Salad Recipe | Healthy Quinoa Recipes
I have tried 26 (yes, I kept count) Quinoa Salad recipes in the last 5 yrs. Only 3 of them came through and oh boy, were those hits! Its a beautiful sight for the mother in me to watch her toddler eat a Quinoa Salad with full gusto. This salad has Southwestern flavors and ingredients adding both volume, nutrition and color to this salad. This is one of those dishes that provides you equal (if not more) value for every calorie you consume. Its sad how we haggle and optimize everything in our life when it comes to money and materials but fail to do so with what we eat. Let this salad help to change your perspective. Rest assured, it most probably will :)
References

my kitchen notes

Basic Information
Prep Time: 1 to 2 hours
Cook Time: Under 15 min
Serves: 8+ people
Yield: Makes around 8 cups
Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup dry Black Beans, see Tips
  • 1/4 tsp Epazote, optional, see Tips
  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • 1 Bay Leaf, optional
  • 1 Garlic
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds, see Tips
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red Onion
  • 1 med-large Tomato,chopped
  • 3/4 cup frozen Corn, see Tips
  • 1/4 cup Green Bell Pepper, see Tips
  • 1/3 cup fresh Lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp Flax Seed Oil, see Tips
  • 1/4 cup Pepitas/Raw Pumpkin Seeds
  • Few sprigs of Cilantro, chopped
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Tips
1. Black Beans: You can instead substitute cooked 1 cup Black beans or canned beans (rinse it well). Try to opt for Organic BPA free beans, if possible.
2. Epazote: I use this Mexican herb for its medicinal property of relieving abdominal discomfort (a.k.a gas) that comes from eating beans. You can substitute it with a Bay leaf instead.
3. Cumin Seeds: You can instead use 1 tsp of cumin powder. In this recipe I use it to flavor the Quinoa cooking water. If you don't want to do this, you can instead just toast the cumin seeds and top the salad with it. Same goes for Garlic.
4. Corn: You can instead use corn on the cob, grill it and once charred remove the corn kernels and use it in the salad too.
5. Bell Pepper: You can use any other color.
6. Flax Seed Oil: I add it for the nutrition it provides. But if you are pregnant, breast feeding or have any blood related disorders, I would suggest talking to your practitioner before using it. In this recipe, just substitute it with additional Olive oil.
Method
1
Soak the black beans the previous day in some water. I add few drops of Apple cider Vinegar to this water. I do this to remove the phytic acid present naturally in beans. This is optional - but it helps to reduce the gassiness considerably and is better for you generally.
Black Beans Quinoa Salad Recipe | Healthy Quinoa Recipes
2
Rinse the beans, the next day
Black Beans Quinoa Salad Recipe | Healthy Quinoa Recipes
3
and cook it with enough water to cover it. Add the Epazote, if using. Please refer my Tip 1, if you don't want to use the herb and/or if you want to skip this process of cooking the beans.
Black Beans Quinoa Salad Recipe | Healthy Quinoa Recipes
4
I pressure cook it for 8-10 min (abt 3 whistles) or until the beans are soft (but retain shape). Set aside.  You can use this water for other cooking purposes.
Black Beans Quinoa Salad Recipe | Healthy Quinoa Recipes
5
Rinse and drain the Quinoa.
Black Beans Quinoa Salad Recipe | Healthy Quinoa Recipes
6
Heat a saucepan. Add 2 cups water along with Garlic, Cumin Seeds and Bay leaf.  I add them here to flavor Quinoa but you can skip it, if you wish. See Tip 3. 
Black Beans Quinoa Salad Recipe | Healthy Quinoa Recipes
7
Bring it to a boil and then add the Quinoa. Cover the pan, reduce heat to Low-Medium and simmer for about 8 min
Black Beans Quinoa Salad Recipe | Healthy Quinoa Recipes
8
or until when most of the water has been absorbed.
Black Beans Quinoa Salad Recipe | Healthy Quinoa Recipes
9
Now add the frozen corn. I do this 'cos I hate the taste of just thawed out frozen corn. If you are OK with it, simply add thawed corn along with the veggies. Or else you can stir fry or use grilled corn. See Tip 4
Black Beans Quinoa Salad Recipe | Healthy Quinoa Recipes
10
Let it continue cooking for another 5 minutes or until the water is completely absorbed. Remove from heat and let it sit for another 5 min. Uncover, fluff with a fork and cool for 5-10 minutes.
Black Beans Quinoa Salad Recipe | Healthy Quinoa Recipes
11
While that's cooling, prep the veggies (onion, tomato, bell pepper) and add them together along with black beans
Black Beans Quinoa Salad Recipe | Healthy Quinoa Recipes
12
In another bowl, whisk together Extra Virgin Olive oil, Lemon juice and Flax seed oil if using, along with sea salt and pepper. Please refer Tip 6 before adding flax seed oil. Set aside.
Black Beans Quinoa Salad Recipe | Healthy Quinoa Recipes
13
Remove the bay leaf from Quinoa (and Garlic if you don't like mushy garlic) and add it to the vegetables. You can use another large bowl to do this. I am lazy and hence use the same pan :)
Black Beans Quinoa Salad Recipe | Healthy Quinoa Recipes
14
Drizzle the dressing to the quinoa-bean mixture.
Black Beans Quinoa Salad Recipe | Healthy Quinoa Recipes
15
Toss gently to coat. Taste and season accordingly. At this point, cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour (at least) for the flavors to mingle well.
Black Beans Quinoa Salad Recipe | Healthy Quinoa Recipes
16
Before serving, dry roast the raw pumpkin seeds
Black Beans Quinoa Salad Recipe | Healthy Quinoa Recipes
17
and add it to the salad along with cilantro. Toss and serve
Black Beans Quinoa Salad Recipe | Healthy Quinoa Recipes
Extremely filling and makes generous portions. For once you can eat to your heart's content knowing that every bit of that calorie provides value to your body :) Black Beans Quinoa Salad Recipe | Healthy Quinoa Recipes
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15 Responses to “Southwest Quinoa Salad”
  1. savi

    quinoa is 100%protein rich

  2. Rita

    As I live in maharashtra ….not aware about quinoa…
    pl can u tell me what it is known as in marathi/hindi??

  3. Sunitha

    Hi DK! Thank you for your website! I love your recipes and step by step photos.
    Can you please tell me where I will find epazote ?
    Thank you

    Its hard to answer this question without knowing where you are from. As for as Pacific Northwest of US is concerned, its available in all Health based stores like Whole Foods, Sprouts Market in the spices aisle. –DK

  4. Akshara

    Hi DK,
    Thank you for the healthy recipe.
    Do you suggest to use Apple cider Vinegar in while soaking any Beans before pressure cooking

  5. SI

    Hi DK
    This recipe was a big hit in our house. I added red pepper flakes to increase spice level. Next time I will add sliced avacados and this recipe will be a regular in our house. Thanks!

  6. Padmini

    Quinoa is very versatile. Use it instead of rice and get imaginative and there innumerable varieties that you can come up with. Your salad came out very well thank you.

  7. shelley

    We love quinoa so I will certainly be trying this. Your photos and instructions are really impressive.Thank you so much.

  8. edwina stowers

    and your instructions are fantastic and the pic are great too

  9. edwina stowers

    :-o :mrgreen: great recipe…….will be trying it in New Zealand and in Samoa too!!!! Fa’afetai tele lave! (thank you very much)

  10. I am yet to try quinoa, but i can totally imagine this with broken wheat. Gonna try this salad with both broken wheat and quinoa. :)

  11. kiran singh
  12. Kathleen

    Beautiful! Can’t wait to make it. And thank you so much for all the tips. They are useful, helpful and very appreciated!

  13. Tamara

    What a beautiful salad! It is very similar to one I make for my sack-lunch for work, but I never put the pumpkin seeds or flax seed oil in. Great idea!!
    I wanted to add, for those who don’t know, flax seed oil goes rancid very quickly, so is best eatten as soon as possible. Refrigeration is essential. Also, rinsing quinoa is a must, as the hulls contain strichnine. I ‘scrub’ the seeds between my palms. Perhaps some seed sources pre-wash; I don’t know.

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