4.28.2018

At the Corner of Side and Main

If you are like me, you like dishes that are flexible.

Maybe it’s a recipe with easy-to-substitute ingredients, or maybe it is a dish that - with a little doctoring - can go from being a side dish to a main dish.

This dish is just that... a quinoa salad that, as it stands, is a perfect side dish but also makes a healthy and full meal.

Actually, there is no need to add anything... this quinoa salad is full of protein and fiber. However, if the spirit moves you, try adding extra veggies (perhaps sliced grape tomatoes, cubed summer squash, carrots, or celery?) or some grilled protein (shrimp, salmon, scallops, chicken, and pork all work beautifully).

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad with Pork Tenderloin Cubano
Either way, it’s a wonderful dish, and I am confident you will enjoy it. In the spirit of substitutions, those who cannot abide cilantro can use basil or dill.

~ David

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

1 1/2 cups quinoa (small disk-shaped seeds)
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, rinsed if canned
1 1/2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
3/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
3/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
5 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, or to taste
1/4 cup olive oil


In a bowl wash quinoa in at least 5 changes cold water, until water runs clear; drain. In a saucepan of salted boiling water cook quinoa 10 minutes. Drain in sieve and rinse under cold water. Set sieve over boiling water (quinoa should not touch water) and steam, covered with a kitchen towel and lid, until fluffy and dry, about 10 minutes.

While quinoa is cooking, toss beans with vinegar and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Transfer quinoa to a large bowl and cool. Toss with beans, bell peppers, and cilantro. In a small bowl whisk together lime juice, salt, and cumin and add oil in a stream, whisking. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss well with salt and pepper to taste.

Salad may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring salad to room temperature before serving. I like to oil a coffee cup, pack in some of the salad, and then turn out a perfect little molded salad which can be garnished with paprika or additional cilantro.


Serves 8.

29 comments:

  1. Your quinoa salad looks so elegant, I love the presentation.

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  2. I love everything about this quinoa salad, David. Love the flavors and colors in it! I think I'm going to add in some diced, grilled chicken breast and serve it as a main course! :)

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  3. Beautiful plating for a beautiful dish (side or main). GREG

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  4. Whatever includes ancient grains is perfect for me. Thank you for this, flexible, one !

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    1. It's funny that these ancient grains were only recently "discovered" - do you remember how much trouble everyone had pronouncing it?

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  5. A 'yes' from me, as 'tis said :) ! In Australia we do not use black beans nearly as oft as we should . . so. If I am alone: this would be more, more and more than adequate - but perchance my sprit would make me reach for some seafood . . . Question: why on earth would anyone dislike coriander: quite one of my favourite herbs I use almost every day . . . ?

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    1. I often serve this with grilled shrimp, Eha - it is a wonderful combination!

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  6. Hi David! Such a pretty looking dish and love its flexibility! Good to know its veg friendly and easy to adapt for meat eaters too. Best wishes! :)

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    1. Thanks, Ngeun - I particularly love that it is so healthy and full of nutrition on its own.

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  7. quinoa_ great ingredient.. I also cooked it sometimes, Italian style, con sugo di pomodoro and basil + parmigiano...
    this salad reminds me of a gorgeous cous cous salad in the venerable and excellent Greens Cook book, by D. Madison.. I think she also puts some orange.. ciao david, stefano

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    1. I have never served it in anItalian style - must give that a try, Stefano! I also have ot look fro that book by Madison. I have several of hers - this one is new to me!

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  8. You got it! I cannot abide cilantro, so it would be some parsley for me! I've had quinoa that was bleh and others that were quite spectacular! I think yours would fall into the latter category, David! Looks fab!

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    1. I had you (and my friend Ed) in mind, Christina, when I suggested basil or parsley. ;-)

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  9. Yes, I agree that the presentation is nice- looks like there are some 'jewels' hiding in the quinoa salad (must be the red and green peppers). Thanks to your photo of the 'Pork Tenderloin Cubano', I am now on a mission to get some Cubano marinade up and running (I had never heard of it before)!

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    1. Fran - the Pork Tenderloin Cubano is a Bon Appétit recipe - just google it and it will come right up! I use all variety and colors of peppers when making this - so pretty!

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  10. I like the sound of all the ingredients included with the quinoa; full of different flavours and textures. I love coriander so I'd definitely use that!

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    1. Me, too, Caroline - coriander/cilantro is one of our favs!

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  11. Great idea to "enhance" the quinoa salad. And preparing it in a mold/coffee cup :) is genius! Looks so elegant!

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    1. Since I don't drink coffee, Inger, I need to come up with some use for those silly cups!

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  12. I love a dish that can have things added or taken away depending on what you have in the fridge. A wonderful dish :D

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  13. Now David, you're going all healthy on me... ;-) Actually looks lovely. I have to say, I've yet to get on the quinoa bandwagon, but a salad like this looks like a good place to start.

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    1. Wow, Frank - no one has EVER accused me of "going all healthy" before! Do note there was pork on the side! :-)

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Thank you for taking the time to leave me a note - I really appreciate hearing from you and welcome any ideas you may have for future posts, too. Happy Cooking!

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