Aunt Suzy says . .

I’ve become a sucker for quinoa summer salads – you will find several of them here on Sweet & Savory Kitchens!  I’m always on the lookout for new and different quinoa recipes, so I immediately took note of this recently posted recipe from a fellow Minnesota food blogger on her Eating for England blog.  This is my riff on her recipe which embodies the flavors and ingredients of many Mexican dishes.  Enjoy as a main dish or a side for a summer grilling menu.  Beverages?  Iced tea, a lager beer or a dry rose wine all blend beautifully!

Quinoa-Black Bean Salad with Lime Dressing

1 cup quinoa (red or golden or a combo like I used)

1 1/2 cups water

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 red onion, small dice

1 clove garlic, minced

6 radishes, cut in half-moons

1 small jalapeno pepper, minced

1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half

3/4 cup cilantro or parsley

1-2 avocados, cut into chunks

Rinse the quinoa in a sieve and drain.  Place in a saucepan, add the water and bring to a boil.  Turn heat down, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until water is completely absorbed.  Uncover and let sit for 10 minutes.  Fluff and put in a bowl.  Add the black beans to the quinoa while it’s still warm.  Set aside to cool to room temperature.

When cooled, add the prepared onion, garlic, radishes, jalapeno pepper and tomatoes and stir to blend thoroughly.  Add the Lime Dressing and stir to combine.  Gently fold in the cilantro or parsley.  If the entire recipe will be eaten on the day it’s made, add the avocado along with the cilantro. Otherwise, pass the avocado for people to add to their individual servings.

Lime Dressing

2 tablespoons EV olive oil

juice of 1 lime

1/2 heaping teaspoon ground cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and whisk until slightly emulsified.  A NOTE ON THE CUMIN:  Instead of ground cumin, next time I make this I will toast 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds and then coarsely grind with a mortar and pestle for enhanced cumin flavor.  I’ll report back.

Aunt Suzy says . . .

It finally feels like spring here!  I’m not trusting it’s here to stay, so I decided to take advantage of the spring feeling and make this quinoa recipe.  I’m not sure whether to call it a salad, a side dish or a main dish – it could be any of those!  It can be served warm or room temperature so there are many possibilities. And, it uses preserved lemon, so what’s not to like?  (It would be good without the PL if you don’t have any on hand.)  I think you’ll find it’s a snap to make with many layers of flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted almonds or toasted pine nuts
  • 1 cup quinoa, thoroughly rinsed (any color will do, even though I favor the red)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 preserved lemon peel, diced (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, mint or cilantro or a combo

NOTES ON THE INGREDIENTS:  I like Trader Joe’s dry roasted Spicy and Tangy Almonds.  If you use these, cut back the cayenne pepper to 1/8 teaspoon since the almonds pack a little heat.  If you don’t have preserved lemon, I think grated zest of 1 lemon would be delicious.

Directions

1.   If using pine nuts, toast briefly in a dry skillet over medium heat. This will take about 5 minutes, and stir constantly as they will burn easily. Set aside to cool.

2.   In a saucepan, combine the rinsed quinoa, water and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook until quinoa is tender and water has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Cool slightly, then fluff with a fork.

3.   Transfer the quinoa to a serving bowl and stir in the chopped nuts, lemon juice, celery, onion, preserved lemon, cayenne pepper, cumin and herbs. Add the olive oil, then adjust salt/pepper if needed before serving.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Aunt Suzy says

This was the first weekend for local green beans and the ones from Untiedt’s are really good.   I got the green beans along with the cherry tomatoes for this recipe from them at the downtown farmers market, but I am also lucky to have one of their neighborhood fruit and vegetable stands within walking distance.   I always anticipate the first local green beans, specifically so I can make this recipe!  It has many layers of flavor that surprise in every bite, even though the ingredient list is short.  This can be served as a main dish salad (quinoa is high in protein) or as a side to roast or grilled chicken.  A dry, fruity French rose wine is the perfect pairing.

A note about the ingredients:  The original recipe called for bulgur instead of quinoa.  I have made and like both, but prefer the quinoa for its milder flavor and texture.  I have almost completely switched from using golden quinoa to red quinoa.  I’m not sure if there is a flavor difference, but I like how it looks!  I have also made this recipe with asparagus and it was just as good as with the green beans.  For a prettier salad, you can use multi-colored cherry and grape tomatoes.  For the roasted almonds make sure that you get roasted and salted (unless you have to limit your salt intake).  Trader Joe’s has a product called Tangy and Spicy Dry Roasted Almonds, which have cayenne pepper and lemon added.  If you want to add a little zip to the dish, use these! (July 2013 update:  TJ no longer carries those almonds – sigh.)

1 cup red or golden quinoa, rinsed well

1 1/2 cups water

1 pound thin green beans, trimmed and snapped in half

1/3 cup EV olive oil

juice of 1/2 to one lemon, depending on how juicy

salt and pepper to taste

1 pint cherry tomatoes (2 cups), sliced in half

1/2 cup roasted salted almonds, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, coarsely shredded

Place the rinsed quinoa in a saucepan and add the water.  Make sure you rinse or else the quinoa will be bitter when cooked.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes.  Let stand for 5 minutes, then fluff and turn into a large bowl to cool.

Wash the green beans.  Place in a steamer, bring the water to a boil and steam for 5 minutes or until just done.  Alternatively, you can cook the beans directly in boiling water for 5 minutes until just done.  Either way, when done, plunge into ice water to stop the cooking.  Drain and then pat dry in a towel.  When both the beans and the quinoa are mostly cool, combine in the large bowl.

Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper together.  Pour over the quinoa/green bean mixture.  You can make this up to a day ahead.  Prior to serving add the tomatoes, mint and almonds.  Toss to combine thoroughly.  Use some small mint leaves for garnish.  Serve at room temperature.