For this post, I first wanted to do a vegetable stir-fry over quinoa, but I realized I should do something where quinoa isn’t the base that carries the vegetables, but where it’s the main star of the recipe. This Zesty Quinoa Salad from allrecipes truly showcases how versatile quinoa can be as an ingredient.
Now, I will admit that to find this recipe, I simply Googled “quinoa salad recipe” and clicked the first result. I would have kept looking around a bit, but this looked so delicious and light. And, being that it’s something I haven’t yet made, I was intrigued. I want this to be as much of a discovering experience for me as it is for you, so it was the perfect choice.
Before we begin:
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Ready in: 30 minutes (ish)
What you’ll need
(makes 6 servings)
- 1 cup dry quinoa (I used rainbow quinoa)
- 2 cups water or broth (I used vegetable broth, for some more flavor)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (again, I used tuscan herb olive oil from Warwick Valley Olive Oil Co.)
- 2 limes, juiced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1-1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 5 green onions, chopped fine
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- salt and black pepper to taste
Now, here’s what you’ll do..
- Start by cooking the quinoa with your water or broth. Like I mentioned in my last post, it’s best to rinse your quinoa off before starting to cook it, to get the bitter coating off of it.
- Once the quinoa is all done, let it cool a bit (I was a bit anxious, so I put mine in the freezer)
- Combine the olive oil, cumin, and lime juice in a bowl and whisk together to make your dressing. Add your 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I added a bit more for some more heat).
- Combine the black beans, tomatoes, and green onions in a bowl, and add the chilled quinoa.
- Mix together, and slowly add the dressing, mixing in as you pour. Top with cilantro and salt and pepper to taste, and voila! You’re all done.
So, how is it?
I think this came out great. And surprisingly filling, in a good way! I think it’s a nice, light meal full of flavor and zest. The cumin in the dressing definitely stands out, as does the cilantro. This is something I will definitely be bringing to work with me for the next few days for lunch. It would make a great side dish as well, or an appetizer dish to bring to a barbecue. It was so easy to make; and the ingredients are easy to find and inexpensive. And, it looks appetizing, which I have to admit I can’t exactly say for my last recipe.
Some recommended tweaks
While pouring the dressing, I learned it wasn’t necessary to use the entire serving of it. I probably only used about half of the dressing, and my salad was covered more than enough. I think it may have turned a bit too oily if I used all of it. I would also recommend cutting the salt a bit – I found it just a bit too salty, but not too overpowering.
Additionally, as I mentioned, use broth instead of water. It makes a huge difference in the way your quinoa turns out. I also think this would be delicious with some chopped avocado on top – but then again, what isn’t good with avocado on top? Another thing I might add next time is corn or celery, to give the dish some crunch.
I highly recommend trying this easy and tasty recipe! Especially in these hot summer months. Let me know what you think! 🙂