With summer heat crashing in on us here in Tucson, I tend to look for main dish salads to make, even in the evening. This salad, studded with jewel-bright vegetables, blends hearty and tangy for a satisfying and pretty dish you’ll want to serve to company as well as make a staple on your table this summer. Feel free to change and/or substitute vegetables as desired; this salad is user-friendly and easy to make!
I tried both red and white quinoa for the salad, since I wasn’t sure which would look better. The white quinoa looks light and pleasant, but the red quinoa, though blending with the black beans more, lets the vegetables glow against the darker grain. The red quinoa bag had a suggestion to sauté the quinoa before cooking, to bring out a malty flavor, and I may try that next time. Note: If you don’t buy pre-rinsed quinoa, make sure you rinse thoroughly before cooking to get rid of any bitter taste. I rinsed mine about as long as it took my garbage disposal to grind up the discarded lime halves. 🙂
I thought there wasn’t enough lime flavor in the salad, but my husband thought it was fine. You can add more zest and juice if you like, of course. 🙂
Just a note: this salad is full of fiber…so if you don’t normally eat a lot of fiber, don’t eat several servings’ worth! Ask my MIL how we know 😉
I purchased the charred corn at Trader Joe’s, but you can char your own in a dry nonstick frying pan. Definitely don’t miss the step, as the smoky roasted flavor adds a nice dimension.
- Zest and juice of two (three?) limes
- 3 TBS olive oil
- 1 tsp agave or maple syrup
- 1/2 - 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 c quinoa (red or white)
- 2 cups water
- 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
- 4 Roma tomatoes, diced (or 1 - 2 cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained)
- 1/2 purple onion, diced
- 1 lb. charred corn
- 1 - 2 orange peppers, diced (I used one)
- 2 avocados, diced
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (or 1 TBS freeze-dried)
- Whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
- If using unwashed quinoa, rinse thoroughly. Cook in a rice cooker with 2 cups water until done (the grains should have a translucent ring around them).
- Rinse and drain beans.
- Dice vegetables and mix with quinoa and beans in a large bowl.
- Pour dressing over the salad ingredients. Salt and pepper to taste.
- I found that the frozen charred corn nicely counteracted the hot quinoa so the vegetables weren't cooked; if your corn isn't frozen, cool quinoa before adding to the veggies.
- If you don't have a rice cooker, bring water to a boil and add quinoa. Let boil again, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 10-20 minutes until done. Cooked quinoa has a translucent ring around the center grain.