Sunday, April 15, 2012

Recipe for Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Red Bell Pepper, and Cilantro

Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Red Bell Pepper, and Cilantro
Luckily this Southwestern Quinoa Salad is loaded with healthful ingredients, because it was hard to stop eating it!

Lots of people are becoming fond of the South American seed product called quinoa (keen-wah).  I knew quinoa had become mainstream when I noticed you could buy a giant bag of it at Costco, and although I resisted for a week or two, eventually I bought one of those huge bags and stored it in the freezer.  I've made a lot of tasty things with my big bag of quinoa, but this quinoa salad with Southwestern flavors in the dressing may be my favorite quinoa dish yet.  Besides the cumin-lime-chile flavors in the dressing, I loved this because the crunch of the red pepper, the softness of the beans, and the slight chewiness of the quinoa was such a nice combination of textures.  The salad stayed good in the fridge for days, so it would be perfect to make on the weekend and take for lunch during the week.  And if you haven't tried quinoa yet, this may be the recipe that will turn you into a quinoa fan.

Of course this lovely salad with quinoa is my meatless offering for this week's Meatless Monday post, and since it's one of the world's healthiest foods, quinoa is perfect for anyone who's a health-conscious eater.  My quinoa salad is adapted from Santa Fe Quinoa Salad at Food and Wine, but I switched out the ingredients a bit and added a lot more seasonings to the dressing.  (You can find more meatless recipes by using the label Meatless Monday or checking Vegetarian Recipes in the recipe index, and I'm also doing a meatless slow cooker recipe each Monday on Slow Cooker from Scratch.  For more Meatless Monday ideas from other bloggers, check Meatless Monday at BlogHer, where I write a weekly post spotlighting one of the fabulous meatless recipe ideas I find around the web.)

Check the label to see if your quinoa has to be rinsed and rinse if needed,  Then combine the quinoa and water with a little salt and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes.

Fluff the quinoa with a fork and let it cool while you prep other ingredients.

Drain one can of black beans into a colander, rinse until no more foam appears, and let them drain until they are dry.

Chop up a red bell pepper into small pieces (about the same size as the black beans.)

Thinly slice the green onions.

Stir together the lime juice, Spike seasoning, ground cumin, ground Ancho chile pepper, and black pepper and then whisk in the olive oil to make the dressing.

When the quinoa is fairly cool, stir together the quinoa, diced red pepper, black beans, and sliced green onions so they are well combined.

Then stir in enough of the dressing so all the ingredients are moistened.  (Save any extra dressing to add after the salad has been refrigerated.)

Gently stir in the chopped cilantro and serve.


Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Red Bell Pepper, and Cilantro
(Makes 4-6 servings; recipe adapted from Santa Fe Quinoa Salad at Food and Wine.)

Salad Ingredients:
3/4 cup quinoa (rinsed if needed, check the package)
1 1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp. salt
1 red bell pepper, chopped into small dice
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Dressing Ingredients:
2 T fresh-squeezed lime juice
1 tsp. Spike Seasoning (optional but highly recommended)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground Ancho chile pepper (or use regular chile powder if you don't have Ancho)
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions:
Check the quinoa package to see if it needs to be rinsed (it often does) and rinse in a fine-mesh strainer if needed.  Combine quinoa, water, and salt and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed.  Fluff quinoa with a fork and let it cool while you prep other ingredients.

Drain the beans into a colander placed in the sink and rinse well with cold water, until no more foam appears.  Let beans drain until they are quite dry (or pat dry with paper towels if you want to speed it up.)

Cut out the stem and remove seeds from the red bell pepper and cut into very small dice (about the size of the black beans.)  Slice the green onions into thin slices and wash, dry, and chop the cilantro.

When the quinoa is fairly cool, combine quinoa, black beans, diced red bell pepper, and sliced green onion in a bowl.  Add enough dressing to moisten all the ingredients.  (You probably won't need all the dressing, but save the extra to stir into any leftover salad that's been in the fridge.)  Gently stir in the chopped cilantro and serve.

This keeps very well in the fridge for several days.  The salad absorbs the dressing when it's refrigerated, so it's best with a little more dressing stirred in when you're eating the leftover salad.


South Beach Suggestions:
Even though quinoa is a seed and it's a low-glycemic ingredient, it's limited to phase 2 or 3 for the South Beach Diet.  Quinoa is gluten-free, vegan, low-fat, and high in protein, fiber, and nutrients, so this would be a great main dish salad for lunch.  It would also make a lovely side dish for something like Quick and Easy Spicy Broiled Shrimp or Cuban Flank Steak

Ten More Tasty Ideas with Quinoa:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Quinoa Salad with Avocado, Radishes, Cucumbers, and Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette from Kalyn's Kitchen
Quinoa Side Dish with Pine Nuts, Green Onions, and Cilantro from Kalyn's Kitchen
Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad with Parsley and Mint from Kalyn's Kitchen
Quinoa Cakes with Poached Eggs from Annie's Eats
Quinoa with Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Leeks, and Slivered Almonds from Gluten-Free Goddess
Black Bean and Quinoa Salad Stuffed Peppers from Everyday Southwest
Stuffed Tomatoes with Quinoa, Soft Tofu, Basil, and Shallots from White on Rice Couple
Quinoa and Vegetable Stuffed Zucchini from The W.H.O.L.E. Gang
Breakfast Quinoa with Dried Cherries, Raisins, and Pecans from Food Blogga
Quinoa, Black Bean, and Mango Salad from Joy the Baker
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.) counter customizable free hit

63 comments:

  1. I love this recipe! I cannot wait to try this. Beans and quinoa are a couple of my favorite things, but I have never put them together, nor thought of putting them together. So I am super excited about this! Plus the health benefits from the beans coupled with the health of the quinoa is a double winner. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. So glad you like it; this was definitely a hit at my house.

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  3. Another winner! All my favorite flavors and ingredients - you really do put together the perfect dishes for me. Thanks, Kalyn.

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  4. You're welcome; glad you like it!

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  5. Quinoa is such a great grain (seed?) and I love that it's such a healthy source of protein for vegetarians (or anyone)! I didn't realize that costco carried it...I'll have to coerce my mother to get me a giant bag. This salad sounds so tasty! Definitely the perfect workweek lunch.

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  6. Kalyn, I love how all the colors pop in this healthy quinoa salad.

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  7. What a gorgeous salad, Kalyn! Who can resist this one with its colorful, healthy goodness? Not I, for sure.

    Thanks!
    Shirley

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  8. This looks delicious, and I can hardly wait to try it. I love Quinoa and use it frequently. A nice way to use Quinoa is to combine equal parts red and white varieties. What would one recommend to replace Spike seasoning? I live in Canada, and although I think that I may have seen it, I'm not sure if I'll find it.

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  9. Such a great, colorful dish. I'm thinking I'd sub tomatoes for the red bell pepper.

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  10. Our local school district serves a salad somewhat like this that the students love. It's such a healthy salad, and it's nice that Costco sells it now. It's much more affordable than it's been in the past.

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  11. I'm happy so many people are liking the sound of this! Spike is a blend of many different spices, usually sold near the health foods or you can buy it at Amazon.com. If you can't find it, any kind of all-purpose seasoning blend that would taste good with these ingredients will work.

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  12. I love quinoa and have been enjoying it for years. This salad has so many great flavors in it -- iI'd really enjoy it! Have you tried the red or black variety yet? Adds an interesting look to dishes.

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  13. Kelly, I do love the red and black quinoa as much as the plain kind. (But I have that big bag of plain to use up!)

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  14. I haven't made quinoa in a while but this looks great so I may just have to pull out the bag and get going. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  15. CJ, glad I have inspired you to cook some quinoa!

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  16. This looks absolutely great - I love quinoa, and have probably over purchased it, so I'm always looking for creative ways to cook with it. In fact, this post prompted me to go online and by Spike Seasoning, which you've talked about so many times. I'll finally be in the know!

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  17. TW, my nephew Jake and I both thought the Spike added a lot to this dressing, so I hope you enjoy it! (And I've definitely over-purchased quinoa too, but I'm chipping away at it!)

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  18. I made this today for lunch. It was delicious! I didn't have Spike, so I added a little Mexican seasoning. My husband also added some sliced, pickled jalapeños to his.
    This is definately a keeper. Thanks for another delicious recipe.

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  19. I love the idea of adding jalapeno. So glad you enjoyed it!

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  20. Kalyn, this looks so healthful and I can't get over the beautiful colors. My husband just leaned over and asked me if I'd make that for him! He will anything and everything if it involves cilantro! :)

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  21. Thanks Kelley! I have those same thoughts about cilantro!

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  22. Another terrific recipe Kaly....Thanks! I'm on my way to Sprouts to buy the veggies for this. My son, DIL and grand kiddos are coming for dinner tomorrow and this will be part of the dinner.

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  23. Kalyn, we make a salad very similar to this at our house. The flavors really are fantastic! We always make a double batch so we can stir in leftover chicken or shrimp for a quick lunch.

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  24. Southwestern quinoa salad is a favorite of mine. When I make it though it seems like I never make enough dressing. I'll have to try yours out next time!

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  25. Ah, thanks Barb, Dara, and Becky. Sounds like there are endless variations on this type of salad!

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  26. This was just delicious; thank you!

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  27. This salad was the hit of our bbq. Thanks for sharing :-)

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  28. jb, I love hearing that! So glad it was a hit.

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  29. This salad is as beautiful as it is delicious! My husband wants to eat it every day!

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  30. Thanks; so glad you like it so much!

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  31. I whipped this up last night for my husband and I to take in our lunches today. He just called me at work to tell me how amazing his lunch was! So thanks for the great recipe! I packed half a small avocado on the side and it went perfectly with this!

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  32. BB, of course I love hearing that. And your idea of serving it with avocado sounds great!

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  33. I just made this for dinner with my roommates, and it's a big hit with all of us! I can't wait to make it again for lunch at work (I also want to try it with avocado like BB suggests). Thanks for the recipe Kalyn, I just love love love your blog! :)

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  34. Sarah Marie, thanks so much. I really appreciate the nice feedback!

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  35. This is a great recipe! I absolutely loved the combination of crunchy and soft and the flavors are great.

    I didn't have Spike's seasoning, but I used a bit of Trader Joe's South African Smoke seasoning and it was good!

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  36. Kalyn, I love the look of this salad and the detailed photo instructions. I've added a link to it from a similar salad I made recently on my site.

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  37. This is my kind of quinoa salad! Nice and fresh, healthy and tasty!

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  38. I've made this twice. Delicious both times. If I still lived in Maine I would definately throw some lobster meat or Maine shrimp into this.

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  39. I am salivating thinking how good this would be with shrimp or lobester meat!

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  40. I made this today replacing the spike with Southwest chipotle Mrs. dash amd adding corn. We also used haf red, half white quinoa and, since we doubled the recipe, orange and red be
    L peppers. Delicious!

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  41. That sounds so colorful. I wish corn was SBD approved; that would be a great addition.

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  42. another winner thank you - I brought this to a memorial day party this weekend, was perfect! I doubled it (and saved a bit for me!) and added a can of corn...keeper. Thank you!!

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  43. Randi, so glad it was a hit.

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  44. Looks delish! Will try it tonight, but without the Spike seasoning - looks to be way too high in salt for me! First ingredient on the list. I'll just add a pinch of sea salt and be good :)

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  45. Peanutgirl, there is a salt-free Spike if you're interested in trying it.

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  46. Thanks Kalyn - that's good to know!

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  47. Well done - this is great! I'm not one to comment on blogs but this was just that good. Excellent recipe and I love your website!

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  48. I just made this and I absolutely LOVE it! I recently started eating quinoa after seeing Giada on the Foodnetwork cook it a few times and thought I'd give it a try. I tried many different recipes but this, by far, is the best recipe I came across. I will definitely be making this one A LOT! Thanks for sharing this :)
    Aloha from Hawaii :)

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  49. What a delicious meal,my family really enjoyed it... thank you! Do you know the nutritional info for this salad?

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  50. There is a note under FAQ about why I don't calculate nutritional information and link to a site I recommend if you ant to do it yourself.

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  51. Excellent salad and beautiful as well! 5 out of 5 family members loved it! I have made it twice, first time with regular limes and 2nd with key lime (what i found at the store). Do uoi know if reg limes and key limes can be used intergangibly? This will definately be a regular in our home!
    ��

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  52. I think key limes are just smaller limes, but don't know much about them.

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  53. made this for a pot-luck dinner tonight and it was fabulous! I also added 1/2 a cup of corn. I will be making this again and again. What a wonderful combination of flavors. Thanks for a great recipe!

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  54. Made this for lunch, and it was great! I doubled the chili powder and lime juice and added 1/2 tsp garlic powder. Kept everything else the same. I might try adding yellow corn next time, and swapping out the green onions for red onion. Could also add a jalapeno pepper for just a little kick. I could also see making this without the dressing and adding a can of rotel instead. It seems very versatile to whatever you have in your kitchen. Thank you for posting!

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  55. The Quinoa Salad with Black Beans was very good. I made a substitution of a can of rotel instead of the dressing. I didn't have any limes. I also sauteed my veggies because I prefer cooked veggies. It is amazing!!! Thank you!!!

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  56. Just made this for dinner and I am loving it! I did make a few subs, due to not having some ingredients on hand, but kept the idea and flavors. I sauteed the red peppers (personal pref), added kale and corn, used a chili lime seasoning instead of the Spike (don't have any). I really love the flavors and will make this again! Thank you!

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  57. Oy - I hope my boyfriend and his son get home from work soon, or else there will be nothing left of this to put on the table!! Thank you again for another wonderful and healthy recipe!!

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  58. Marie, my pleasure. Glad you are enjoying it. I have made this many times myself!

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  59. Love this! Great lunch for the week. Do you have the nutritional info for this recipe?

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  60. I don't calculate nutritional info since I don't use it, but if you look under FAQ above there's a link for Calorie Count where you can enter the recipe and it will calcualate it for you.

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