March 29, 2010

Black Bean and Tomato Quinoa Salad


Hello, rainy Monday. You are not the stuff that dreams are made of. You don’t contain even an iota of get up and go, and vim and vigor is not your thing. But all the same, here you are. You are good for Chopin and cups of tea sipped out of wedding china, I suppose, and that is no small thing.

The air has just been rife with humidity — and not just the rainy sort — for the past few days. There’s a chill that seeps into your bones and makes you want to light a candle, open the curtains (but keep the windows closed) and read The Wind in the Willows under a white coverlet. It’s the kind of weather that calls for a simple roast chicken by night and clean, honest salads by day. That, to me, is spring. And that’s where today’s recipe comes in.

I was quiet for the past week because I was in Dallas, my mouth full of queso. And when I wasn’t eating queso, I was asking for more hot sauce and fishing at the bottom of the bowl of chips. I simply can’t get enough of those fresh, hot flavors of Mexican food. But I came back, as enamored of those flavors as ever, but feeling a little too puffed up. This is where salads flecked with cilantro, fresh with lime, rounded out by quinoa and black beans save the day. A slice or two of avocado is like the cherry on top.

Black Bean and Tomato Quinoa Salad
adapted from Epicurious
Serves 3-4

zest from one lime
juice from two limes
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
1 (14- to 15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 medium tomatoes, diced
4 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 avocado sliced
greens for serving (optional)

Whisk together lime zest and juice and oil in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Over high heat, bring quinoa and water to a boil in small saucepan. Cover, reduce heat, and cook for 10-15 minutes until quinoa is tender and water has been absorbed. Turn off heat and let sit for a few minutes; fluff with a fork. Add quinoa to dressing and toss until dressing is absorbed, then stir in black beans, tomatoes, and cilantro. I like to serve this over lightly dressed greens (it’s frisée in the picture) and top each individual portion with 1/4 sliced avocado. Makes a tremendous weekday lunch.

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  • Kristina: Love your china! I chose plain white wedding china, too, and I have a feeling I won’t be sorry. Colors come and go, but white is always classy.5 years ago

  • Agreed! My china makes me so, so happy. And the teapot! Wow, what a looker!5 years ago

  • Seton McGowan: Was a dreary Monday in NC as well….rain or shine I am trying out this recipe this week!5 years ago

  • Lauren Clare: I am so in love with quinoa and avocados! How is married life treating you these days?5 years ago

  • Lynette Cornell: Truly, though, rainy days are the best ones for running. You won’t overheat, and plus, the few folks you will see along your run are just as crazy!

    Downer is wet sneakers that take forever to dry. :/5 years ago

  • MaryLeigh Bishop: I grew up in Dallas too, and oh how I miss good Mexican food! Living in Connecticut has really made me crave queso, so this post reaffirmed my desire to go home this summer for a visit. Mmm, queso.5 years ago

  • Amy C: Lovely! I’ve been fighting a stomach virus, and this looks nice and light. I’ll make it for lunch today!5 years ago

  • Seton, Hope you like it, and that the rain stops soon in NC. I just keep telling myself that it will bring May flowers.

    Lauren Clare, Married life is pretty peachy. I married someone who likes reading The Wind in the Willows almost as much as I do!

    Lynette, You are so hard core! Today I felt sorry for myself just walking to the coffee shop in the rain!

    MaryLeigh Bishop, Maybe it’s time for you to melt a brick of Velveeta with a can of Rotel! :)

    Amy C, Poor thing. That is the absolute worst! Feel better.5 years ago

  • Karen: As soon as I read that second paragraph, I suddenly had an insatiable craving for a roast chicken! :) You described such a perfect beginning-of-Spring feeling.5 years ago

  • Susan: this is my go-to salad in the summer! i add corn too for sweetness. i just got back from austin, tx and totally feasted on queso too. being austin, i actually had an amazing vegan one too!5 years ago

  • regina: THis look great. Thanks for sharing the recipe
    😉5 years ago

  • beth: you know, i remember making this a year or two ago. i had it on repeat the whole summer! but it’s been a while — thanks for reminding me of this light, lovely dinner.5 years ago

  • It’s definitely a more summery recipe given the tomatoes, but I just couldn’t resist the freshness of it! So much for being seasonal, I guess. 😉5 years ago

  • Lindsay B: Ha! The timing on this is too funny– I had a girfriend pass me that Epicurious recipe last week, and I went home and made it for dinner that very night. Deeeelish. Seems I can’t get enough of quinoa lately, and I see I’m not the only one! While I love cozy hibernation-cooking, this recipe definitely got me in the mood for light summer fare!5 years ago

  • MaryLeigh Bishop: haha at the Velveeta Rotel, it’s sooo good but for some reason I end up with massive tummy issues for days afterward! For some reason that doesn’t happen when I go somewhere like Chuy’s or Pappasito’s…5 years ago

  • Tara: Oh my, this looks DELICIOUS. My spring and summer menu main consists of various “hearty” salads, and this looks like it would fit right in. I can’t wait to make it!5 years ago

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Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.
- Khalil Gibran