In the world of grains, quinoa is considered expensive. However, it is a complete protein and bag costing between $6 and $7 will feed one person at least 15 times. It’s crucial to rinse quinoa thoroughly before cooking to remove the bitter coating around the tiny grain. I love the flavours and the colours in this salad, but you can feel free to use different beans, veggies, herbs, etc. This is amazing on-the-go food, but it only keeps for 4-5 days in the refrigerator.
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
- 2 cups water
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1½ lemons, juiced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- * ½ tsp chili powder
- * ¼ tsp cayenne powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 green onions (scallions), finely chopped
- 1½ cups halved cherry tomatoes
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- * ¾ cup pitted spicy green olives, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- ¼ cup mint, chopped
* My local market carries wonderful green olives marinated in a spicy garlic olive oil bath. If it’s easier for you to use regular pitted green olives, feel free to do so. You can then add the chili powder and cayenne to the salad dressing for a little bit of kick. You may also choose to throw in a clove of minced garlic.
Bring quinoa, water, and salt to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender and water has been absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes. The quinoa will swell dramatically and a thin membrane will appear around the quinoa. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, chili and cayenne powders (if using), salt, and garlic (if using).
Combine quinoa (warm or cold is fine), cherry tomatoes, red pepper, zucchini, black beans, olives, green onions, and dressing. Lastly, add the fresh chopped mint and cilantro and taste for seasoning.