Since adopting our mostly vegan lifestyle, I’ve learned that our spinach and avocado salads that used to fill us up aren’t quite big enough to satisfy our lunchtime hunger. Although I’ve started adding things like chickpeas, hummus and almonds to them, they just don’t quite cut it without the big hunks of turkey or chicken. So I’ve started making “side dishes” as I call them to go with our salad or sandwich each day (for the sandwich I substitute the meat for extra avocado and hummus and fill it with veggies). I actually had to do t his often during Ironman training as well since we were constantly starving. Sometimes our side dish is leftover curry or chili from dinner, but often I make a completely separate dish.
This quinoa black bean salad is one of my favorite side dishes. The recipe is adapted from Tony Horton’s Bring It! book which his also where I found my favorite chili recipe. Quinoa is one of my favorite vegan proteins because it is a complete protein (has all amino acids). I also like that the salad has pumpkin seeds since they are high in iron (you can find them at places like Whole Foods and Sprouts in bulk). The dried apricots make it unlike anything I typically eat, which is fun too!
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice ( I just squeeze a full lime and don’t measure)
1/4 cup apricot nectar (I actually use 1 tbsp agave nectar instead because I haven’t been able to find apricot nectar)
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded & diced (watch out if handling the inside of the jalapeno without gloves – I’ve burned my eyes trying to take out my contacts after making this recipe!)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or flax oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
Combine in a bottle and puree in a blender.
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots or 3 fresh apricots, pitted & chopped
1 small red bell pepper, seeded & diced
1 cup chopped scallions ( I recommend using less – there is a lot of flavor already)
1 small red onion (you could use just half and it’d be ok)
1 cup fresh cilantro (also could use less or is good without)
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (can substitute sunflower seeds or walnuts)
2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled ( I usually use a recipe that calls for 1 cup dry and 2 cups of water to cook, which makes about 3 cups for extra salad!)
1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
Cook the quinoa and let it cool (I’m sure you could serve it warm as well but I never have). Combine the salad ingredients and toss to combine. Add the dressing, stir, and let the salad sit for at least 10 minutes.
Do you love quinoa as much as me? Do you have any other quinoa salad recipes to share?