The concept for this quinoa and black bean salad came from my talented friend and chef, Julie Robles. Her salad was amazing, full of fresh flavor. There wasn’t a recipe for it, so I knew I needed to come up with something close when we were craving another round as soon as the original creation was cleared off our plates.
Remember that Cumin Lime Vinaigrette from yesterday? Here, it’s mixed with quinoa, black beans, roasted poblanos, kale and feta — do you now understand our cravings? This is healthy, fresh with a bright Mexican mood.
It’s a total meal on its own or goes great alongside a protein at dinner. This is a surefire showstopper at a potluck (you can thank me later). Bonus: it holds up for about three days in the fridge, making it a major lunch upgrade over a cold slice of leftover pizza sprayed with sriracha.
If you’re entertaining for a big crowd, this dish doubles easily. I made a double-batch for a Casa del Herrero luncheon hosted at Rose Story Farm — I loved two on my favorite SB spots all wrapped into one event! It fed twenty-five ladies as a side for the salmon wrapped in fig leaves.
Quinoa Salad with Poblanos, Black Beans and Cumin Lime Vinaigrette
Recipe notes: If you can’t find fresh poblanos, substitute with 8 oz. of drained hatch peppers.
I prefer the taste of cooking my own beans, but you can substitute one can of 15 oz. black beans drained and rinsed.
Baby kale is readily available at many markets. It’s more tender yet still holds up well to the dressing, even after a day or two in the fridge.
1 cup uncooked quinoa (see cooking instructions below)
4 poblano peppers, roasted, peeled and diced
1 3/4 cup cooked black beans, rinsed
¼ cup cilantro leaves
1 cup feta, crumbled (I like sheep’s milk feta)
2 cups baby kale, lightly packed
¼ cup cumin lime dressing
I don’t like mushy quinoa – especially for a salad like this. This method turns out toothsome and perfect every time. I forgo rinsing and dry toast the quinoa until it smells like popcorn cooking on the stovetop.
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
In a dry pan that is fitted with a lid, toast the quinoa for about 5 minutes on medium heat. It will turn golden brown and smell like fresh popped popcorn. Add the water and salt to the pan and turn up the heat to high until it begins to boil – this will only take a minute or two since your pan was already pretty darn hot. Turn down to a low simmer, cover for 15 minutes (set your timer!!).
After 15 minutes remove from heat and fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork. Most of the liquid should be absorbed. Put the lid back on the pan and leave for 5 minutes. If you leave the quinoa for longer than 5 minutes it will get mushy, so spread the cooked quinoa on a cookie sheet lined with parchment to cool.
To assemble the salad, toss all ingredients: quinoa, peppers, black beans, cilantro, feta and kale in a large serving bowl. Gently fold in dressing and add more as needed to taste. Serve!