This fall, we attended a family cookout at my in-laws’ house, and their next-door neighbors — a pair of world-class back-to-the-land hippies — brought this great quinoa and black bean salad that tasted like a cross between tabouli and Texas caviar. Ron and I both liked it, but the cool hippie neighbors left before we had a chance to exchange email addresses with them, so I did some Googling, ran a few Pinterest searches, and cobbled together something I think is pretty close to what we had at the cookout. As always, feel free to adjust proportions to suit your personal taste; the only really important part is that you have a 2:1 water-to-quinoa ratio.
1/2 c. red quinoa
1 c. water
At least a dozen cherry or grape tomatoes
1/2 bell pepper
1 bunch cilantro
1/2 bunch scallions
2 tbsp. olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
Cumin and chili powder to taste (I used my homemade taco seasoning)
1 can black beans
Several hours before you plan to serve the salad, put quinoa in a strainer and rinse thoroughly. (Don’t skip this step, or the quinoa will taste bitter.) Bring quinoa and water to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed — about 15 minutes.
While quinoa cooks, prep your vegetables: Rinse the tomatoes and halve them if desired, dice the pepper, and mince the cilantro and scallions.
Drain and rinse beans and stir them into the finished quinoa, along with the olive oil, lime juice, and spices.
Chill the quinoa-bean mixture for several hours. Stir in the vegetables just before serving. (If you add the vegetables while the quinoa is still hot, they’ll wilt.)
Makes about four big servings. This salad makes a good lunch all by itself, as quinoa is very high in protein.