Thursday, August 13, 2009

black bean quinoa

What is quinoa? And I quote, “while quinoa is usually considered to be a whole grain, it is actually a seed, but can be prepared like whole grains such as rice or barley.”

Quinoa is my favorite grain for three reasons: First, it takes less time to cook than other whole grains – just 10 to 15 minutes. Second, quinoa tastes great on its own, unlike some of the other grains. Add a bit of olive oil, sea salt and lemon juice and - yum! Finally, of all the whole grains, quinoa has the most protein, so it's perfect for vegetarians. Quinoa provides many essential amino acids, making it a complete protein, and it’s a cholesterol-free whole grain. Plus, it’s almost always organic!

There is one tiny downside. You need to rinse it a couple times to get all the bitterness out.

And this recipe does call for an unusual cooking method but it’s worth it!

So, once you learn the quinoa tricks, this confetti-inspired salad comes together in a flash! Add some lime and veggies and viola! A perfect summer, Tex Mex salad!

Black Bean Quinoa

Serves 4.

This is great warm, cold or at room temperature. A great thing to take to a barbeque!

2 teaspoons grated lime zest

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon sugar

1 cup quinoa

1 (14- to 15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

2 medium tomatoes, diced

2 avocadoes, diced

4 scallions, chopped

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Whisk together lime zest and juice, butter, oil, sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Set aside.

Wash quinoa in 3 changes of cold water in a bowl, draining in a sieve each time.

Cook quinoa in a medium pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Drain in sieve, then set sieve in same pot with 1 inch of simmering water (water should not touch bottom of sieve). Cover quinoa with a folded kitchen towel, then cover sieve with a lid (don't worry if lid doesn't fit tightly) and steam over medium heat until tender, fluffy, and dry, about 10 minutes. Remove pot from heat and remove lid. Let stand, still covered with towel, 5 minutes.

Add quinoa to dressing and toss until dressing is absorbed, then stir in remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve when dinner’s ready!


  1. This looks yummy Katie! Did you make this up? I'm definitely going to try it.

  2. this looks fantastic, although a little tricky. how much water should the quinoa be boiled in? is the rinsing to clean the quinoa or for cooking purposes?

  3. Hi! Sorry it wasn't clear enough...just boil a medium saucepan with enough water to cover (just like pasta) and you have to rinse the quinoa to remove the bitter outside. You need to do this for every recipe using quinoa...not just this one! Hope that helps!!

  4. Just a Reminder: Do NOT accidentally buy and use Italian Parsley instead of Cilantro. It will Not taste the same. After being accused of less than thorough rinsing (a big pain with a little strainer I might add), we finally discovered it was the infamous parsley which I think was past prime making it even more yucky. But other than that, it was delicious as usual. love, Anonymom

  5. Looks good and sounds good. I will be sure to grab a pack of quinoa seeds next time I'm at the shops. I love making salads especially with couscous, but this one will be a fresher (and healthier) version of summer. :) thanks for posting!


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