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Quinoa & Black Bean Salad

(recipe, Julie Howard)


Quinoa, though technically a seed in the herb category, has traditionally been considered a valuable member of the grain family. A sacred source of strength for the ancient Incas, I first tasted quinoa at Wild Oats (natural food store and deli) in a delicious salad very much like this one from the July 1994 issue of Gourmet. The secret of the success of this salad is the steaming of the quinoa. (The traditional cooking method for quinoa, boiling it in a measured amount of water, does not produce the light, fluffy texture that works so well in a salad.) This dish provides a complete protein and can stand alone as a luncheon or light supper entrée. Serves 4 to 6 as an entrée or 8 as a side dish.


  1. 1½ cups quinoa (small disk-shaped seeds)*
  2. 1½ cups cooked black beans, rinsed if canned
  3. 1½ Tbsp. red-wine vinegar
  4. 1½ cups cooked corn (cut from about 2 large ears)
  5. ¾ cup finely chopped green bell pepper
  6. 2 pickled jalapeño chilies, seeded and minced (wear rubber gloves)
  7. ¼ cup finely chopped fresh coriander
  8. For dressing:
  9. ⅓ cup fresh lime juice, or to taste
  10. 1 tsp. salt
  11. 1¼ tsp. ground cumin, or to taste
  12. ⅓ cup olive oil


  1. In a bowl wash quinoa in at least 5 changes cold water, rubbing grains and letting them settle before pouring off most of water, until water runs clear and drain in a large fine sieve.
  2. In a saucepan of salted boiling water cook quinoa 10 minutes. Drain quinoa in sieve and rinse under cold water. Set sieve over a saucepan of boiling water (quinoa should not touch water) and steam quinoa, covered with a kitchen towel and lid, until fluffy and dry, about 10 minutes (check water level in kettle occasionally, adding water if necessary).
  3. While quinoa is cooking, in a small bowl toss beans with vinegar and pepper to taste.
  4. Transfer quinoa to a large bowl and cool. Add beans, corn, bell pepper, jalapeños, and coriander and toss well.
  5. Make dressing:
  6. In a small bowl whisk together lime juice, salt, and cumin and add oil in a stream, whisking.
  7. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss well with salt and pepper to taste. Salad may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring salad to room temperature before serving.