Quinoa Bean Salad


When I think of summer eating I usually think of grilling burgers, brats, fish, and vegetables but this summer has been different because my grill went out of commission last spring and I have yet to find a replacement. Overall this slight change in cooking preparation has been a good thing because it’s made me research different recipes and I’ve seen a slight decrease in the amount of animal protein I have consumed, which has actually cut back on my grocery bill quite a bit.

One day I went to my cupboard looking for ingredients for a quick Meatless Monday meal and this is what I had before my eyes: many cans of beans (black, white cannellini, garbanzo, you name it, I have it), couscous, rice, and quinoa, plus an assortment of nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans, peanuts, and sunflower seeds). After little deliberation I grabbled the garbanzo beans, quinoa, and almonds and was on my way to a pretty fabulous and protein-packed dinner.

The only thing I needed to complete my dinner was a dressing to pull all of these wonderful foods together, plus some vegetables. I made a dressing from a lemon, extra virgin olive oil, curry salt, buttermilk, and mayonnaise. Now I’m sure you’re gasping at the thought of using buttermilk or mayonnaise but let’s get a few things straight: buttermilk sounds very fatty but it’s not as bad for you as you might believe and mayonnaise in moderation is ok. I use mustard 90% of the time so a tablespoon of mayonnaise in an entire salad won’t hurt. I selected kale and red onion as my veggies for the finishing touches and to make it a little more colorful.

I recently fed some of my college students this salad and it was a big hit! Here’s a little how-to. Don’t be afraid to play around with some of the key ingredients and let me know what you think!

Cook 1 cup of quinoa. I used red quinoa but you can use whatever kind you fancy; I can’t taste a difference.(Combine 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer while the water is absorbed. 15-20 minutes max)
Drain a can of garbanzo beans
Slice up a small red onion
1 cup of slivered almondsQuinoa BeansGarnishes

Combine the above in a bowl, let completely cool, and then mix dressing:
1 small lemon, juiced
1/3 cup of  extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup of 1% buttermilk
1 T of mayonnaise (I use Mrs. Clark’s because its from Ankeny!)
Dash of salt of your choice (I used a spicy curry salt)Dressing

Mix the dressing with the salad and serve over a bed of fresh kale. I’ve also eaten this without the kale and it’s a nice side. Do note, the quinoa is protein-packed as are the beans so this is hearty enough for your main course. P.S. this tastes better with age! The last time I made it I let it sit for a day and a half before eating.KaleCan you taste a difference between the varieties of quinoa? I honestly can’t but some people say they can. Please share any other quinoa recipes you might have and happy eating!