This is one of those blog posts where I wish my food popped through your computer screen, so that you could experience it first hand. You are about to hold in your hands my favorite recipe of the summer. And, that means a lot, since a year ago, you could barely get any forms of beans into my system. This southwestern quinoa salad is bound to knock your socks off.
We’ll begin with the facts. While this dish is meant to be a side, I ate it as a main course twice this week. And, while this dish was meant to be shared amongst my family members, I ate three-quarters off it by myself in under two days. Yes, it’s that delcious. So, you want to know the secret?! It’s the seasoning on the quinoa. You’ll see below that you actually cook the quinoa in a spice mix. And, that makes all the difference.
Allergens: Celiac friendly and free of the top 8 allergens. Always pick specific ingredients that meet your own dietary requirements.
1-1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1-1/4 tsp. ground coriander
4 Tbs. olive oil
1-1/2 cups red quinoa, rinsed well if not pre-rinsed
One 15-1/2-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium zucchini (about 7 oz.), trimmed and cut into small dice (1-1/3 cups)
2 cups halved grape or cherry tomatoes – preferably Heirloom tomatoes, plus a few for garnish
1 cup fresh corn kernels (from about 2 ears), microwaved or blanched for a few seconds
1/3 cup sliced scallions (white and light green parts)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus sprigs for garnish
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. fresh lime juice
2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
2 tsp. honey, preferably local (Use agave nectar if you are vegan.)
1/4 tsp. Sriracha hot sauce
Combine 1 tsp. salt, the cumin, and coriander in a small bowl. In a saucepan, heat 1 tbsp. of the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the salt-spice mixture, stir well, and cook for 30 seconds.
Add the quinoa, stir again. Then, add 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer, cover, and cook until the quinoa has absorbed all the water and the germ has separated from the seed (it will look like a ring), 20 to 22 minutes. (If there is a little water left, bring back to a simmer and cook for 3 to 4 minutes more to boil off the water.)
Remove the pot from the heat and stir once. Put a folded paper towel over the quinoa and cover with the pot lid again for 5 minutes. Uncover, discard the paper towel, and transfer the quinoa to a large, shallow mixing bowl or a large baking sheet (where it will cool more quickly). Let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine the black beans, zucchini, tomatoes, corn, scallions, chopped cilantro, orange juice, the remaining 3 tbsp. olive oil, lime juice, garlic, honey, sriracha hot sauce, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Stir well and let sit while the quinoa cools, stirring occasionally.
Combine the black bean salad with the cooled quinoa and mix thoroughly. Taste and season as necessary. (It will continue to build flavor as it sits.)
Garnish with a few extra tomatoes and cilantro sprigs, and serve! (May be served at room temperature or chilled. It can be made up to a day ahead.)
Tips and Tricks
As it takes awhile to cool down, get the quinoa cooking before prepping the rest of your ingredients.
You can also try this salad without the quinoa. The veggies are delicious on their own.
If you really don’t like beans, you can substitute in edamame (contains soy), but I would probably just add more corn and turn this into a corn salad instead.
Now, what you may not know is that I’m actually out of the kitchen for 2 months, while I recover from shoulder surgery. And, yes, blogging in a sling is just about as fun as it sounds. Therefore, this dish was made by my mom with love. It’s true that dishes taste better when you haven’t been the one testing the recipe the whole way through. However, I stand by this dish as one of the best of the summer.