Think Outside the Salad Box: Quinoa Black Bean Salad


It’s great being up at the cottage during the week. On Monday after the dust settles from the weekend I take a look in the fridge, and see what ingredients are leftover for me to work with.

Lately I’ve been getting creative with salads because there’s usually TONS of leftover produce, and fresh lettuce & herbs growing in the gardens. I’ve also started to think outside the salad box. Salads don’t have to be boring, and just include raw vegetables or be served cold. I’ve been adding quinoa, beans, and fresh herbs to make them more of a complete meal.

I’ve also been making my own dressing on a regular basis. I used to buy bottled dressing, but it’s full of preservatives, and when oil is exposed to light & heat (salad dressings are in clear bottles, and sit on grocery store shelves for who knows how long) it becomes rancid, and creates free radicals in the body (leads to premature aging & cancer).

Here’s a recipe I made a couple days ago for lunch. I ate it warm, and it was so tasty & satisfying. Feel free to switch up any of the veggies, herbs or use another bean or whole grain – use whatever’s leftover in your fridge or garden! 

Quinoa & Black Bean Salad 

For the salad
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 (19oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 red pepper, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro & basil, finely chopped (1/4 cup total, not of each herb)
2 green onions, chopped
1 small avocado, chopped into 1 inch pieces
2 cups greens (ex. swiss chard, arugula, or spinach)
For the dressing
4-5 tbsp of fresh lime juice (juice from 2 small limes)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin

Cook quinoa: bring 1-cup quinoa & 2 cups of water to a boil. Once boiling, cover and turn heat down to low. Cook for 15 minutes.

While quinoa is cooking, chop all your veggies, and whisk together the dressing.

Once quinoa is done, fluff with a fork, and allow it to cool for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl combine the vegetables, quinoa & beans together. Serve salad onto plates, and add dressing once plated (if you dress the entire salad it will become mushy in the fridge, and doesn’t keep as well for leftovers) – enjoy!

I had the salad for lunch & as a delicious side for dinner…

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  1. Easy Salad Making Tips | The Other Big O - October 10, 2012

    […] Easy, Yummy Time-Saving Tip: instead of dressing I sometimes make a quinoa salad that has dressing mixed in, and add a scoop of that onto my leafy green base with my 2 raw veggies. […]

  2. gut brain connection | The Other Big O - March 13, 2013

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