Saturday, July 5, 2008

Black Bean and Quinoa Salad

Last week I went to a cookout and offered to bring a pasta salad. I was having difficulty recalling some of the usual summer salads I make, and was feeling like making something new, so poked around and found a recipe that sounded tantalizing. It was called something like Summer Citrusy Salad, and seemed like just the thing I was looking for. The recipe even called for cooking the pasta in turmeric to turn the pasta yellowy-orange, and I had never done that before so was excited to try it. The rind of one orange was needed and I couldn't find my rinder, but I figured I'd make do. I should mention that I didn't know most of the people at this cookout, and was meeting them for the first time. I'll cut this short by just telling you that the end result was not good. It was not offensive, just not tasty. I did learn a couple of lessons during this experience that I will share with you:
  • Consider your audience and don't experiment with new recipes on a group of people you are meeting for the first time, and are likely to see again at similar events in the future. I fear I will carry the reputation of the weird vegetarian girl who makes bad pasta salad.
  • There is no substitute for a rinder. You'd think a cheese grater might be able to stand in for a rinder, right? It doesn't. The salad may have actually been o.k. if I was actually able to use the rind it called for since it was an integral part of the recipe.
Anyway, I figured it was time to pull out some of my favorite summer salad recipes. Here is one of them that I got from one of my Moosewood cookbooks. If you start poking around for quinoa recipes, you'll notice quinoa is often paired up with black beans. They do make a good combo, but I'd like at some point to get more imaginative in regards to quinoa. This is basically the summer version of the Quinoa and Black Beans I posted this winter.

Quinoa Black Bean Salad
1/3 cup quinoa
1 cup water
1 tspn olive oil
4 teaspoons fresh lime juice, or more to taste
1/4 tspn ground cumin
1/4 tspn ground coriander
1 tblsp finely chopped fresh cilantro (if you are a cilantro person, you could add a lot more)
2 tblsp minced scallions
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained
2 cups diced tomatoes
1 cup diced bell peppers (red, yellow, green or mixed)
2 tspns minced fresh green chiles
salt and pepper to taste

1. Rinse the quinoa in a sieve under cold water. In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil, add the quinoa, cover and simmer on low heat, about 10 to 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed. Set aside to cool.
2. In a large bowl, combine the oil, lime juice, cumin, coriander, cilantro and scallions.
3. Stir in the beans, tomatoes, bell peppers and chiles.
4. Add the quinoa, and salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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