Quinoa and red bean salad is an ideal centerpiece for a meal, served with fruit for lunch and soup for dinner. Extra eye appeal comes from the mini sweet peppers, which you can find in the produce department of well-stocked markets. Of course, you can substitute regular bell peppers if you prefer.
Quinoa and red bean salad is an ideal centerpiece for a meal, served with fruit for lunch and soup for dinner.
Extra eye appeal comes from the mini sweet peppers, which you can find in the produce department of well-stocked markets. Of course, you can substitute regular bell peppers if you prefer.
Sweet chili sauce: The salad gets a little extra zip from sweet chili sauce, which you can find in the Asian foods section of well-stocked supermarkets. Can’t find it? Just use some extra lime juice and olive oil, or replace the lime juice and oil with a well-flavored vinaigrette.
Complete the meal: Serve this on its own for lunch with a few tortilla chips and fresh fruit (it’s a good salad to pack for work). For dinner, add corn on the cob and/or a baked sweet potato, or serve as part of a soup and salad meal.
ARE YOU NEW TO QUINOA?
Quinoa seems like an established staple in the plant-based world, but here, for those who have yet to discover it, are a few basics:
- Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wa) is an ancient food indigenous to the South American Andes. It was introduced to the American natural foods market in the 1980s.
- Quinoa is considered a superfood for its vitamin and mineral profile. Botanically, it’s more of a seed than a grain.
- You can use it as a bed of grain for vegetable or bean dishes as a change of pace from rice; to stuff winter vegetables, especially hard squashes; to make pilafs; and for delicious tabbouli-style salads like this one.
- The most common variety of quinoa grain is a kind of yellowish-tan, but red and black varieties are now available as well. They cook up the same way and taste pretty much the same as well; their appeal is mainly visual. Sometimes you can purchase a mix of all three colors.
- Quinoa cooks quickly and easily — use a ratio of liquid to grain of 2 to 1 (like 2 cups water or broth to 1 cup quinoa).
See lots more hearty vegan main dish salads.
- 3/4 cup raw quinoa, rinsed in a fine sieve
- 2 or 3 sliced mini bell peppers, or 1/2 medium bell pepper, any color, finely diced
- 15-ounce can kidney or red beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup cilantro or parsley leaves
- 1 or 2 big handfuls baby spinach or other baby greens
- 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
- Juice of 1 lime (about 3 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Optional additions (use any or all)
- Toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds for topping
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup chopped black olives
- 1 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
- Combine the quinoa with 1 1/2 cups water in a small saucepan and bring to a rapid simmer, then lower the heat. Cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. If it’s not quite done to your liking add another 1/4 cup water and cook until absorbed. Transfer the quinoa to a wide bowl or casserole dish so that it can cool quickly.
- Once the quinoa is just warm, add the peppers, beans, cilantro, spinach, chili sauce, lime juice, and olive oil and toss together. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add any or all of the optional ingredients. Let the salad stand for 30 minutes or so if time allows, so that the flavors can blend; otherwise, it’s fine to serve at once.
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