As the warmer weather increases, my desire to turn the oven on decreases. The temperature on our patio the last couple of days reached towards the 90’s. We both wanted a crisp and refreshing salad. One of our favorite go-to main-dish salads, Black Bean Salad with Corn, Quinoa and Cilantro made a very quick and easy lunch and dinner—and then breakfast the next morning.
We’ve enjoyed variations of this salad for years. Ever since we lived in Southern California and shopped at the small and excellent Calabasas Farmers’ Market. This was the salad I’d prepare after returning from the market with shopping bags of fresh herbs, veggies, fruit, flowers and fresh tamales. Always included were few ripe avocados from the “avocado man.”
Salsa and cilantro, corn and black beans are naturals. Add protein-rich, gluten-free quinoa and you have a quick & easy recipe for a satisfying main-dish salad any day or meal of the week.
Add, take-away or substitute veggies and grains based on what you have on hand. Cucumber, tomatoes, fennel, radishes, red pepper, black olives, peas, millet, brown rice and the list goes on. A bit of cumin and/or chile flakes in the dressing, finely diced red onion for scallions—you get the idea. Do what you will; this very versatile Black Bean Salad always seems to taste great.
Black Bean Salad with Corn, Quinoa & Cilantro
Vibrant colors, Southwestern flavors, protein-rich, gluten-free and vegan. Feel free to use other grains and/or vegetables. Crumbled soft goat cheese adds a creamy contrast to all the crunchy vegetables. Never soggy, always sturdy Black Bean Salad makes great leftovers and holds up well for picnics and lunch boxes. Should you have already cooked quinoa or another grain in the fridge, Black Bean Salad takes only minutes to prepare.
Makes about 12 cups
Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes including cooking the quinoa
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
Large pinch of salt
1 25-ounce can black beans, rinsed, drained (or two 15-ounce cans)
1 15-ounce can organic corn, drained
3 ½ cups grated carrots (approx 4 large carrots)
1 cup jicama ½-inch matchsticks
1 avocado, diced
½ cup thinly sliced scallions
¾ cup coarsely chopped cilantro
¾ cup medium or hot Green Mountain Gringo Salsa or your favorite salsa
1 red bell pepper, roasted and diced
½ cup crumbled goat cheese (optional)
Season generously with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 ½ tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice
1 ½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Combine the quinoa, large pinch of salt and 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. Cook the quinoa for 17 minutes. Turn off the heat. Let the pan sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove the cover and spread the quinoa out on a sheet pan to cool. You can put the pan in the fridge or freezer for faster cooling.
- Place all the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Toss to combine.
- Stir in the quinoa when cooled.
- Prepare the dressing and toss with the salad. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.