Recipes for Health: Quinoa Black Bean Salad

Recipes for Health: Quinoa Black Bean Salad

Quinoa, native to South America, is the grain of the moment – much like brown rice in the 70’s, wheat berries in the 80’s, and couscous in the 90’s. Pronounced “keen-wa,” it was a staple of the ancient Incas, hence the name “the mother grain.” Mild, nutty-tasting and packed with high-quality protein, fiber, and iron, it cooks quickly, has a fluffy texture, and is available organically grown, packaged, and sold in whole food markets and many grocery stores.

We see quinoa recipes everywhere: in food magazines, cookbooks, and on diet “yes” food lists. Quinoa is a dietician’s dream. A third of a cup of dry quinoa has 160 calories, 3 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, and 20% of the daily requirement for iron and phosphorus.

We decided to give Quinoa try. After searching for a recipe that could become part of a weekly repertoire, we adapted the following recipe from the Moosewood Restaurant Low Fat Favorites cookbook. It is delicious with grilled meats, poultry, and seafood. It also works in a green salad with roasted chicken and cheddar cheese. Serves 6 as a side dish


2/3 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons scallions
1½ cups cooked black beans (15-ounce can, drained)
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 cup diced roasted red pepper
1 tablespoon fresh green chilies
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Put the quinoa in a sieve and rinse well under cool running water. Bring water to a boil in a medium sauce pan, add quinoa, cover, and simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes, or until all of the water is absorbed and quinoa is tender. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the oil, lime juice, spices, cilantro, and scallions. Stir in the beans, tomatoes, red peppers, and chilies. Add the cooled quinoa, salt and pepper to taste, and combine thoroughly. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Vancouver Health Coach