Black Bean & Butternut Quinoa Salad

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This hearty, flavorful bowl of quinoa, beans, and squash was a shining moment in my 15-degree winter evening. I’ve been craving heavy food, particularly as my meat-free January comes to a close. Thanks to this recipe, I didn’t sneak out to get a burger or chicken fingers (which I would regret for GERD-related reasons as much as for breaking my meat fast).

This recipe also made clear how much I’ve been missing black beans. Before heartburn, I always paired them with tomato, onion, and jalepeno—and they’ve been off the menu because I didn’t know how else to cook them. It turns out black beans are just as great in a more subtly flavored dish. I love their firm mouthfeel, and the color looks interesting against the red quinoa.

I used leftover lemon-rosemary dipping oil in this recipe, but lemon zest would work too. I hate to buy a lemon knowing that I’m going to throw it away after zesting, due to the acidity of the juice. Flavored olive oil is less expensive than zest in the long run. I plan to buy another bottle when this one runs out.

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This salad is satisfying either hot or at room temperature. When the leftovers are reheated, they even keep their herb flavors since I added so much parsley and cilantro. This meal is such a pleasure to eat.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup red quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 3/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 15.5-oz can black beans
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked butternut squash (If you don’t have leftovers, peel, cube, and roast for 35 min at 425 degrees)
  • 1 oz goat cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon olive oil (or 1 1/2 tsp olive oil + 2 tsp lemon zest)
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

DIRECTIONS

  1. Rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer under cool water. Place in a medium pot with the broth and bring to a boil. Add the oregano, onion powder, and cumin. Stir, lower the heat, and simmer until nearly all of the liquid is absorbed—mine took 18 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, rinse and drain the black beans. If your squash was cooked in the skin, chop it into small cubes.
  3. When almost all of the liquid has been absorbed by the quinoa, stir in the black beans, squash, and goat cheese. Allow to sit for 2 minutes and stir again, incorporating the cheese into the dish. IMG_5033
  4. Drizzle the quinoa with vinegar and oil, and shut off the heat. Stir in the parsley and cilantro and serve.

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Serves 4. Active time 25 minutes; total time 30 minutes.

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