Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Quinoa - The Super Food

I was having an e-mail conversation with my friend last night while she was working, and during the course of that conversation she inadvertently reminded me that I hadn't cooked with quinoa in awhile. That in turn reminded me that I'd never made the Quinoa-Black Bean Salad that I'd intended to make.

So, I got up this morning, pulled the Mason jar of quinoa out of the cupboard, pulled a bag of black beans out of the freezer, and set my mind to make this salad for lunch today. As soon as beans and corn were thawed I got to work. It's such a simple salad to throw together and it's all done in the time you wait for the quinoa to cook (about 20 minutes).

While I was making the salad it dawned on me that some of my non-veg friends who read my blog may not know what quinoa is. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is typically thought of as a grain, but is in fact a seed. Quinoa is a virtual powerhouse when it comes to nutritional value. It is very high in protein, and has a balanced set of amino acids, making it a complete protein, unlike most other sources. Quinoa is a great source of fiber and iron, and is gluten free. Before preparing quinoa it should be well rinsed. Quinoa is coated in a substance called saponin, which is it's natural protection from pests. The saponin tastes bitter and should therefore be rinsed off before using quinoa in your recipes.

You can find the recipe for the Quinoa-Black Bean Salad over at Jenny's blog, at the link I provided above. I did alter the recipe slightly, so I will post her recipe here, with my comments in red.

Quinoa- Black Bean Salad
1 1/2 cups quinoa
1 1/2 cups black beans, drained and rinsed (I used 2 cups) need at least 2 cups, I would recommend more
1 1/2 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups corn, fresh, canned, or frozen
1 red bell pepper I used one roasted red pepper and 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
4 scallions, chopped (I used 6)
1 garlic clove, minced I used 2
1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped (I used parsley) I used 1/2 cup of coriander
1/3 cup fresh lime juice I used 1/2 cup
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/3 cup olive oil (I used 2 Tbs) I used 1/4 cup

Rinse quinoa in a fine sieve under cold running water. Put quinoa into a pot with 2 1/4 cups water and one vegan bouillon cube. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer 20 minutes, or until water is absorbed. While quinoa is cooking, toss the beans, vinegar, corn, bell pepper, scallions, garlic and coriander (parsley) in a large bowl. In another small bowl, whisk the lime juice, salt and cumin and pour in the oil while whisking. When quinoa is done cooking, toss it with the beans and vegetables. Then, drizzle the lime mixture over quinoa and vegetables and toss well. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Oh man, this stuff is so good. I could probably eat this stuff every day and not get sick of it. Hoping for the best, I also served this to the kiddos for lunch. To my surprise and delight they loved it, even the little omni-man that I babysit for gobbled it up!! Score one for quinoa!

Probably negating the super healthful lunch I consumed, I indulged in this little treat once I got the kids down for their naps. I made some extra coffee this morning, so I reserved the unused portion in the refrigerator. This is what's left of the coffee, with about 1/2 Tbs sugar stirred in and some vigorously shaken Silk creamer poured over top. MMMMM, iced coffee is so good! Really, caffeine and minimal amount of sugar aside, it's not that unhealthy.


  1. I love that Quinoa salad! Hmm, I haven't made it in a while...

    I love how you have my changes there, plus your changes as well. What an evolving recipe! Next we will have my changes plus your changes, plus my new changes, etc. etc...

  2. Ha! I was just about to comment at your blog about your sausages, and got caught up browsing around Vegan beet me to the comments tonight!!

  3. I had my first iced coffee of the season a couple days ago. In warm weather, I always have coffee in the fridge and ready to go.

  4. Yay, more quinoa salad!

    I just had my first iced coffee of the season (when we were in AZ) - it was sooo good!

  5. I tasted your Quinoa salad when I watched the girls for you Wednesday and it was delicious! I plan to make this for our cookout this weekend!

  6. Donna, I hope your guests like the quinoa. It's a great cookout dish!!