Spicy Black Bean and Quinoa Salad

December 28, 2009
Author Notes

I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia almost 10 years ago, and it’s one of the biggest reasons I cook and eat the way I do today. By 2001, I was the least healthy I had ever been, and I realized that I needed to make some major changes if I wanted to manage this condition, starting with what I ate. I have never had much of a sweet tooth, but I ate a lot of processed foods, so I decided to cut those out and incorporate more whole, minimally processed foods into my diet. I also began reading about the so-called “superfoods,” and the beneficial properties of certain vegetables and legumes, grains, spices, and seasonings. This salad was my first attempt at revamping the classic black bean salad to boost its nutritional punch, and it's still a favorite. It's packed with flavor, and it's rich in protein, fiber, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. It also travels well, making it a great dish for a picnic or bag lunch. I generally cook dried beans in bulk and freeze them in portions, but this works just fine with drained and rinsed canned black beans. Some people detect a bitter flavor in quinoa, which can be eliminated by rinsing it in a few changes of water before cooking; I've never had an issue so I didn't include that step. The cilantro-averse among you can feel free to substitute fresh flat leaf parsley instead. - lastnightsdinner —lastnightsdinner

Test Kitchen Notes

This is a fabulous recipe, full of flavor and so healthy! The salad is easy to make and quick to put together. It is delicious! I love the addition of lime and chile -- it has a good heat but it's not too hot. I could not get chipotle powder so used chipotle Tabasco instead, which worked well and still didn't make it too hot (for me). It is a great salad as a meal in itself or as a healthy side. I will be making this this again! - Jaynerly —Jaynerly

  • Serves 4-6
  • 1/2 cup red quinoa (or sprouted quinoa)
  • 1 cup water
  • Juice and zest of one lime, about 1.5-2 oz. juice, and 1-2 teaspoons zest
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
  • 1 cup roasted red/yellow bell peppers, chopped
  • 1.5 to 2 cups cups cooked black beans
  • 1/4 cup picked fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
In This Recipe
  1. Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
  2. In a large serving bowl, whisk the lime juice with the zest, a pinch or two of salt, the chili powder, chipotle powder, and the cumin. Add the olive oil and whisk until the dressing comes together.
  3. Add the quinoa to the dressing and toss. Add the scallions, red peppers, black beans, and cilantro and toss well to combine. Garnish with additional cilantro and lime zest, if desired.
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