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Smoky quinoa and black bean salad is the perfect healthy side dish for any meal

A recipe inspired by Budget Bytes

5D4B7125 - Smoky Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

Need a flashy salad to get your family excited for healthier meals? This smoky quinoa and black bean salad, inspired by Budget Bytes, is a gorgeous side dish that will immediately get their attention and healthfully fill their bellies.

Whether you need a diet reset after the holidays or simply want to incorporate more power foods into your everyday family meals, this quinoa and black bean recipe is an easy yet impressive way to put a delicious and nutritious dish on the table. Both quinoa and black beans are loaded with protein, fiber, and other phytonutrients your family needs. The red bell peppers offer vitamins A and C as well as a tasty dose of antioxidants, while the corn lends a yummy amount of fiber and antioxidants. If you usually have trouble getting your family to eat healthfully, you’ll love the way this salad convinces them.

ALSO TRY: Easy, healthy sweet potato quinoa bowls

Presentation matters. Do the resistant vegetable-eaters in your family associate tossed salads with unappetizing health food? Instead of tossing this quinoa and black bean salad, arrange it into an eye-appealing prism of ingredients. The healthfulness stays the same but the change in presentation gives this dish a dramatic flair that will entice the pickiest of eaters.

New to quinoa? Quinoa, which is culinarily categorized as an ancient grain, is actually a high-protein, gluten-free seed that has a nutty, earthy flavor that goes impeccably well with savory ingredients. Though this recipe calls for white quinoa, this power food actually comes in a variety of colors, including black, red, and even purple. Regardless of the hue, the taste and preparation stay the same. Cooking quinoa is similar to cooking other grains, but unlike grains, quinoa first needs to be rinsed in cool water. Each seed contains saponin, a natural bitter-tasting coating that protects it from pests in the field. To rinse, place it in a fine-mesh sieve and run water over it for a minute or two, then proceed with the recipe.

Cook’s note: The smoked paprika and ground cumin in the vinaigrette are toasted before mixing with the other ingredients. Toasting spices is a quick and easy way to amp up flavor and fragrance. To toast, sprinkle the paprika and cumin in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat and shake the skillet until the aroma of the spices intensifies, then whisk them into the vinaigrette.

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Cook the quinoa

Quinoa is so easy to prepare, you’ll want to incorporate quinoa into your regular weekly meals. Place the quinoa in a saucepot over high heat. Add the water and stir gently. Cover the pot with a lid and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked. Turn off the heat and allow the quinoa to sit for 5 minutes before fluffing.

5D4B7008 - Smoky Quinoa and Black Bean Salad - Cook the quinoa


Refrigerate the quinoa

Transfer the quinoa to a bowl and refrigerate until it is cool.

5D4B7060 - Smoky Quinoa and Black Bean Salad - Refrigerate the quinoa


Make the vinaigrette

While the quinoa is cooling, make the spicy vinaigrette. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, smoked paprika, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Set it aside.

5D4B7042 - Smoky Quinoa and Black Bean Salad - Make the vinaigrette


Assemble the quinoa and black bean salad

Irresistibly colorful, this quinoa salad is artfully arranged to show off the contrasting colors of the quinoa, black beans, red bell peppers, scallions, corn, and cilantro. To assemble, pour the quinoa into a large, wide serving dish, covering half the dish. Pour in the black beans, pushing them up against the quinoa to cover about 1/3 of the empty part of the dish. Arrange the bell peppers next to the black beans and the corn next to the bell peppers. Sprinkle the scallions down the middle of the dish in between the quinoa and the other ingredients.

5D4B7075 - Smoky Quinoa and Black Bean Salad - Assemble the salad


Drizzle the salad with the vinaigrette and add garnish

Drizzle the quinoa salad with some of the vinaigrette. Garnish with the chopped fresh cilantro. Serve with extra vinaigrette on the side.

5D4B7085 - Smoky Quinoa and Black Bean Salad - Drizzle the salad with the vinaigrette and add garnish


Stunning color!

5D4B7148 - Smoky Quinoa and Black Bean Salad


Packed with protein, fiber and veggies

5D4B7129 - Smoky Quinoa and Black Bean Salad


This smokey quinoa and black bean salad is so fresh!

5D4B7099 - Smoky Quinoa and Black Bean Salad


Serve some up for a weekday meal or festive holiday side dish

5D4B7176 - Smoky Quinoa and Black Bean Salad


Makes great leftovers for lunch the next day too

5D4B7221 - Smoky Quinoa and Black Bean Salad


Hungry yet? How about a quinoa and black bean salad?

5D4B7209 - Smoky Quinoa and Black Bean Salad


Smoky quinoa and black bean salad

Yield 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked white quinoa, rinsed
  • 1-3/4 cups cold water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, toasted
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, toasted
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed, drained
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded, diced
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh or canned corn, cooked
  • 3 scallions, green and white parts, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions

  1. Place the quinoa in a saucepot over high heat. Pour in the water and give the mixture a gentle stir. Place a lid on the pot and bring the quinoa to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked and the water is absorbed.
  2. Turn off the heat and allow the quinoa to rest for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Transfer the quinoa to a bowl and refrigerate until cool.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, smoked paprika, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and freshly cracked black pepper. Set mixture aside.
  4. In a large, wide serving dish, arrange the quinoa to cover one half of the dish. In a side-by-side arrangement, place the black beans, red bell peppers, and the corn in the dish. Sprinkle the scallions down the middle of the ingredients, separating the quinoa from the others.  
  5. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the top of the salad.
  6. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
  7. Serve the salad with extra vinaigrette on the side.

Courses Salad


5D4B7156 - Smoky Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

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