A year ago, I decided to make some lifestyle changes towards better health and healthy living. As part of this, I decided to avoid gluten.One of the gluten- free grains I came across was the protein-rich quinoa. Quinoa was all the rage then. It has come a long way from being in health food stores into mainstream grocery stores. It is a superfood with several health benefits. I did not know what to do with it. I have a colleague of mine who has food sensitivity and uses quinoa as a rice substitute. She gave me some quinoa to try out and I could not do it. I love my rice! I decided to make upma with it just by substituting the sooji( semolina) for quinoa. It turned out horrible! She then gave me some quinoa- black bean salad one day for lunch & I loved it! I decided to again try making quinoa again ( especially since I had a 5lbs bag of it!). The quinoa black-bean salad was a great hit ! It has been liked and devoured every single time I made it! Of course I have tweaked her recipe a little!This is for you Lyra.Here is my recipe:
Water: 2 cups
Black beans: 1 8oz can
Corn kernels: 1 8oz can
Spring onions( scallions): 1 small bunch, finely chopped.
Red/white onion: 1 small, finely chopped.
Bell pepper green( capsicum): 1 small, diced.
Orange/red/yellow bell pepper: 1 small,diced.
Cucumber: 1small, diced.
Tomato: 1 small, deseeded and diced ( optional).
Dried cranberries: 2 tbsp( optional)
Coarsely chopped walnuts: 2 tbsp( optional)
Feta cheese: 6oz, crumbled.
Olive oil ( preferably) extra virgin:3 tbsp.
Lemon juice: from 1 whole lemon.
Pepper powder ( preferably freshly ground): 1tsp
Salt to taste.
In the mean time, rinse thoroughly and drain the canned black-beans & corn. While that is draining, chop the vegetables.
Take a large salad bowl,add all the chopped vegetables, black-beans, corn, feta cheese, cranberries, walnuts, cooled quinoa,cilantro, olive oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper. Mix well. Keep in the refrigerator until it is served.
Serve chilled. You can garnish with sprigs of cilantro.
Cooking made easy:
- This salad is very versatile and can be made with pretty much anything that you have in your pantry & fridge.
- You can add all colored peppers or just the ones of your choice. You can skip it altogether if you don't like them.
- Instead of black-beans, you can use red kidney beans or pinto beans. You can also add either of them in addition to the black-beans.
- You can substitute fresh corn for canned corn kernels.
- Queso de fresco or cottage cheese can be used instead of feta cheese.
- You can cook the quinoa ahead of time ( like the previous night) and put it in the refrigerator.