Saturday, August 21, 2010

Southwestern Black Bean and Quinoa Salad

I'm currently in the middle of a 3 day work stretch (actually, I technically have one hour and thirty seven minutes until I'm half way through, but who's counting?), and I'm already pining for fresh vegetables. I have some salad fixings in the fridge, but I forgot to pack them up and bring them to the Land of Frozen Food.

Luckily, though, I still have some quinoa and black bean salad. It's not chock-full of veggies, really, but it should help satisfy the inevitable craving for real food. Plus, because it has a lot of protein, I'm hoping that it will keep me full for a while and prevent the mindless munching that strikes when you're bored and awake at 3 a.m.

This salad is super easy, you can throw it together quickly, and it's highly adaptable--add or subtract whatever ingredients strike your fancy. For example, the addition of a couple slices of bacon would have made this salad absolutely awesome, but I refrained this time because it was supposed to be healthy. If you come up with any changes that you particularly like, let me know in the comments section.

Southwestern Black Bean and Quinoa Salad

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon Canola oil
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • One 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small red bell pepper, finely diced
  • Half of a green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 roasted, peeled, seeded, and diced poblano pepper, or an Oil Preserved Poblano Pepper
  • Kernels from 2 ears of corn, fresh, or leftover Grilled Corn on the Cob
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 scallions, dark and light green parts finely sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa with 2 scant cups water and a pinch of salt; bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until the almost all of the water is absorbed, about 13 minutes. Just before the last of the water is absorbed, turn off the heat and allow the quinoa to sit for a few minutes (it will absorb the rest of the water, and this prevents overcooking). Fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, toast the cumin seeds over high heat, shaking the pan, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Grind in a spice grinder, or with a mortar and pestle.

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Season to taste.

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