This is the very first recipe I ever made that used quinoa. Six years later, it is still one of our family’s favorites. It is budget friendly, immensely refreshing, and is packed full of super foods and natural detoxifiers. It also goes start to finish in just 25 minutes. Winner winner, quinoa dinner!
If you have yet to jump on the quinoa bandwagon, or if you’ve tried other recipes and think that this ingredient is not for you, please give this super seed another try. I’m pretty sure this recipe will win you over. Quinoa (KEEN-wa) is a recently rediscovered ancient “grain” that is quickly gaining recognition as one of the most healing foods you can be feeding your family. Technically an edible seed, quinoa is a member of the chenopod family (the same one as spinach). Quinoa is a complete protein, high in fiber, naturally gluten-free, and is full of cancer-fighting phytonutrients and antioxidants. In ancient times, the Inca tribe even fed quinoa to their soldiers before battle to give them the extra stamina they needed to defeat their enemies.
Now, I don’t anticipate we will have to go to battle this summer, but as the school year comes to a close and the days get longer, we will need all the extra stamina we can get! Adding this recipe to your summer lunch or dinner rotation will help fill you up without filling you out, and it will give your whole family the energy needed to power through post-dinner walks, trips to the pool, or a neighborhood game of flashlight tag.
Ingredients (Serves four as a main, six as a side):
For the salad:
1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups prepared black beans (or one 15-oz can, drained and rinsed)
2 – 3 small vine ripe tomatoes, or 1 very large heirloom
4 green onions
⅓ cup chopped cilantro, leaves and tender stems only
1 tbsp real butter
For the cumin-lime dressing:
2 limes, zest and juice
2 tbsp real butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp organic cane sugar
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp black pepper
Instructions (25 minutes, mostly hands on):
Prepare your cumin-lime vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients listed under “for the cumin-lime vinaigrette. Set aside.
Prepare your quinoa: Heat a suitable sized pan over medium heat for about five minutes. When hot, add 1 tbsp butter. When butter has melted, add 1 cup dry quinoa to butter and stir for 2 – 3 minutes, allowing the quinoa to slightly brown and toast. Add 2 cups of chicken broth to toasted quinoa. When quinoa comes just to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover with a tight fitting lid, and allow quinoa to simmer for 15 minutes, until most of the broth has had a chance to absorb. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, and set aside until ready to serve.
Once quinoa begins to simmer, prepare the other components of your salad: Dice 2 – 3 small vine ripe tomatoes or 1 large heirloom tomatoes. Slightly squeeze tomatoes to drain excess juice. Trim and thinly slice 4 green onions. Finely chop ⅓ cup of fresh cilantro, leaves and tender stems only. If using canned beans, rinse and drain thoroughly.
Getting it on the table: Add prepared produce and black beans to quinoa. Pour cumin–lime dressing over the top and toss to combine. Transfer to a suitable sized serving bowl. Serve immediately and enjoy.
Notes: While the leftovers are fine as a cold salad for lunch the next day, the flavors really shine when served soon after preparing. That is why I say serve immediately in this recipe. This Black Bean and Tomato Quinoa is naturally gluten-free and nut-free. Because quinoa is a complete protein, this salad works great as a vegetarian main dish. If you are packing a family picnic, try pairing this salad with Coconut Crusted Chicken Tenders and a Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble. All three of these recipes travel well and are safe to eat at room temperature for up to 90 minutes after preparing. If taking a day trip, these recipes also work well served chilled from a properly packed cooler.
Pinching pennies: Our family almost always has homemade chicken stock on hand, but if you do not and are trying to pinch your pennies, pick up a jar or organic chicken base the next time you are at your local health store. You can dissolve 1 teaspoon of the paste into 1 cup of hot water to use in place of store bought broth or stock. One jar costs less than five dollars and is equal to 40 cups of broth. This is my new go-to trick when our homemade supply is low.