Southwest Quinoa Salad

Dreena Burton is one of my favourite cookbook authors! She too is a busy mom who needs to satisfy her kids’ healthy appetites.

In fact her first cookbook, Let Them Eat Vegan, was my first plant-strong kitchen ally!  Today Plant-Powered Families is a recipe book I confidently recommend for clients and family to purchase.

The ingredients to introduce this week are:

  1. Quinoa: Pronounced KEEN-wah, this naturally gluten-free *grain is loaded with protein, fiber and minerals, making it incredibly nutritious.  After rinsing, one cooks it as one would cook white rice. (*Quinoa is a grain crop that is grown for its edible seeds.)
  2. Black beans: have a strong earthy flavour, yet I rarely find them tinned here.  A good substitute is the black or red azuki bean. These beans are sweet and relatively easy to digest, so they won’t make you as gassy as other beans. They also don’t take as long to cook.
Southwest Quinoa Salad
Recipe Type: Salad
Serves: 3 – 4
Pre-cook quinoa and you can have this salad on the table in a flash! The flavors are bright and fresh, and the addition of avocado rounds out the spice and tang. This isn’t overly spicy, and the heat level really depends on the type of salsa you use. I use a mild salsa, and our kids love it!
  • 2½–3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ¼–½ teaspoon agave nectar or pure maple syrup
  • 2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa
  • 1 cup black beans
  • ½–3/4 cup chopped avocado, tossed in squeeze of extra lime juice (see note)
  • ½ cup corn kernels (opt for organic, frozen is fine)
  • ½ cup mild or medium salsa (see note)
  • ¼ cup diced red bell pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro (optional; can substitute flat-leaf parsley)
  • 3–4 tablespoons chopped green onion (just the green portion)
  • ½ teaspoon cumin, or more to taste
  • ¼ rounded teaspoon sea salt (see note)
  • ⅛ rounded teaspoon allspice
  1. In a large bowl, combine the lime juice, agave nectar, quinoa, black beans, avocado, corn, salsa, red bell pepper, cilantro, green onion, cumin, sea salt, and allspice. Add extra lime juice and sweetener to taste, as well as any additional seasoning. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Avocado Note: If making this salad ahead of time, do not add the avocado, as it will discolor. Toss together all the ingredients, chill, and then work in the avocado/lime juice before serving.
Salsa note: I normally like mild salsa, but you can use a medium salsa in this salad. For kiddos, you may want to use a mild salsa. I find ½ cup is just enough, but feel free to add another few tablespoons if you like it saucier!
Salt note: Start with about ¼ teaspoon of sea salt, then adjust to add extra later if needed. You may want a little more depending on the brand of salsa that you use.
Serving suggestions: This is a fabulous potluck and summer salad—double the recipe for a large crowd. Serve as is, with snacking tortilla chips, or pair with roasted potatoes and vegetables.



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