Black Bean & Quinoa Salad

Summer has finally arrived!  With it comes enough free time to resume cooking and an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs matched with a desire to get back to healthy eating. Perfect time to test out one of the so-called “super-foods” I haven’t tried before: quinoa. During our recent visit to Costco, we came across a 4 lb. bag of quinoa at a price under my splurge point for random foods.  Since I’ve heard so much about this amazing grain, I thought it was worth a try and picked up a bag without any clue how to cook it or what it really was. Turns out, quinoa is actually a seed, not a grain, but the rest of the rumors were correct: it is indeed a super food. Gluten free, it is high in protein, fiber, iron, and more!

With all the healthy hype, I was prepared for it to not taste great. It sort of made me think of oatmeal; I know it’s good for me, but I have to force myself to eat it in its unadulterated, healthy form (I like it when it’s mixed with brown sugar, honey, syrup, or piles of cinnamon and sugar, but then it’s not so healthy anymore). I was willing to give quinoa a fair chance though and hunted online for well-reviewed recipes to try.  Attempt #1, an adaptation of several recipes I encountered, was a hit with both Monkey and I. Monkey said he loved how fresh and light it tasted and even went back for seconds.  This was a perfect light summer meal, but would be equally nice as a side dish.

Black Bean & Quinoa Salad:

Black Bean & Quinoa Salad

Look at all the colors!

Black Bean & Quinoa Salad Recipe:


1/3 cup Quinoa

1 cup Water (add more for higher elevations, less for extremely low elevations)

1 tablespoon Olive oil

4-5 teaspoons Lime juice
 (depending on taste)

1/4 heaping teaspoon Cumin

1/4 heaping teaspoon Ground coriander

1 tablespoon Fresh cilantro; finely chopped (double it if you like cilantro)

2 tablespoons Scallions; minced

1 can (15 oz size) Black beans; drained

2 cups fresh tomatoes; diced
 or 1 can diced tomatoes; well draineds

1 cup red, orange, or yellow bell peppers; diced

2 teaspoons Fresh green chiles; minced or 2 heaping tablespoons; canned

1 dash each salt and pepper; to taste


  1. Rinse the quinoa well in a fine sieve under cool running water. Be careful, because the seeds are small! Our normal colander’s holes were too large.
  2. Put rinsed quinoa and 1 cup water in rice cooker and set to cook. If you have additional settings on your rice cooker, set it to cook just like white rice.
  3. While the quinoa cooks, stir oil, lime juice, cumin, coriander, cilantro and scallions in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, combine beans, tomatoes, peppers and chiles.
  4. Add cooled quinoa, and salt and pepper. Then pour the cilantro sauce and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with lemon slices, lime wedges, or whole cilantro leaves.

Serves 3-4.

Note: We didn’t wait for the quinoa to cool and ate immediately. It was delicious! If you have access to fresh tomatoes and green chiles, by all means use them. We used the canned for this first go round and it was delicious. I’ll be testing out more quinoa recipes as we work our way through the 4 lb. bag. I was especially happy to use some of our home grown cilantro in this recipe!