Thursday, March 20, 2008

Hey, It's Spring!

...Why not have a salad?

Oh, yes... I'm so original :-D. But this delicious bowl sure is! Yup, this is another birthday party creation of mine from the weekend. My mom actually let me make this without glancing at the recipe or fretting over whether or not people would like it, probably one night when she was too tired to reason out any excuses. Yeah, my cooking is not usually encouraged at home... apparently it's too "different". That doesn't stop the compliments that come from my mom, Andrew and my dad when I do make something though. Go figure. I guess that as long as "the Italians" have other options, it's all good.

Anyways, this was a huge hit with those family members who dared to try it at the party, and I even had the opportunity to teach some of them (including my previously feared great-aunt Shirley) about the benefits of beans and quinoa in the diet, which branched into me telling them about my partnership with Foodbuzz and my writing on this blog! Business cards were passed out and I talked so much that I think poor Andrew was a little left out, but he battled through and lived to take more salad home both the day of the party and this past Tuesday (AKA his Saturday, lol).

One of the major plusses of this salad is that it is absolutely gorgeous (and it's not just the crazy fluke photo in my favourite bowl that I took that makes it look like that!), and nice and healthy too, being full of black beans, peppers, tomatoes, herbs, limes and the darling of the superfood world: quinoa! Throw in a dash of olive oil and some smokey notes from cumin, let it sit in the fridge overnight and... voila... my Queen Bean Salad!

With over over 100% of the dietary requirement value for vitamin C and vitamin A and an excellent source of vitamin B6, the peppers in this dish do more than just flavour and add some delicious heat! The tomatoes, though they would have been better in-season (like everything else!), bring a more B6, folate, copper, niacin, vitamin B2, magnesium, iron, pantothenic acid, phosphorous, vitamin E and protein to the table! The quinoa is full of manganese, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorous, and what's neat is that this "grain" (actually related to chard) can help people suffering from migraine headaches, diabetes and atherosclerosis! I've talked about the benefits of the delicious thing that is the bean before, but black beans were found to have the most antioxidant activity in a recent study in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry! All things considered... this is one Queen *ahem* of a salad... and it keeps for ages, getting better and better!

I wonder how many other salads will crop up for this round of ARF / 5-A-Day? Only one way to find out, and that's to check Sweetnicks this Tuesday for the round-up!
Queen Bean Salad 
Serves 12
3 cups water
2 tbsp kosher salt
1 cup quinoa, well-rinsed
2 19-oz cans (4 3/4 cups) black beans, drained and rinsed
4 3/4 cups no-salt-added diced tomatoes, drained
1 large orange bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tsp grated lime zest
3/4 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
5 whole scallions, minced
  1. Bring water and salt to a rolling boil in a large pot.
  2. Add quinoa and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and fluff with fork before cooling to room temperature.
  4. In a large serving bowl, combine beans, tomatoes and peppers.
  5. Add quinoa and toss mixture together.
  6. In a small bowl or pitcher, whisk together oil, lime juice, spices, cilantro and scallions.
  7. Pour dressing over the salad, toss once more and chill 8-12 hours before serving.
  8. This keeps well at room temperature for hours and is great for lunch next day (and the one after that, and the one after that...).
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories: 224.4
    Total Fat: 3.1 g
    Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
    Sodium: 176.8 mg
    Total Carbs: 38.7 g
    Dietary Fiber: 8.9 g
    Protein: 10.5 g


    1. i love the salad... and thanks for being there for me and making stuff for me

    2. Your salad looks lovely as well. I'm so glad spring is on the way (it's not here yet in the Pacific Northwest) as I look forward to preparing more of this type of meal when it warms up a bit.


    Thanks for the feedback!