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Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Farm Stand Veggies

Alexandra Grablewski

Servings: 8

The brick-adobe red color of red quinoa was the inspiration for this Southwestern-style salad, with spices, black beans, and farm stand veggies like corn and zucchini (perfect for potlucks and picnics). Since it takes a while to cool down, get the quinoa cooking before prepping the rest of your ingredients.


  • Kosher salt
  • 1-1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1-1/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 4 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1-1/2 cups red quinoa, rinsed well if not pre-rinsed
  • One 15-1/2-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium zucchini (about 7 oz.), trimmed and cut into small dice (1-1/3 cups)
  • 1 cup halved grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (from about 2 ears), microwaved or blanched for a few seconds
  • 1 small (or 1/2 large) red bell pepper, seeded and cut into small dice (1/2 cup)
  • 1/3 cup sliced scallions (white and light green parts)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus sprigs for garnish
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
  • 2 tsp. honey, preferably local
  • 1/4 tsp. Asian chili-garlic paste
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup toasted pine nuts


  • Combine 1 tsp. salt, the cumin, coriander, and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  • In a 3-quart saucepan, heat 1 Tbs. of the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the salt-spice mixture, stir well, and cook for 30 seconds. Add the quinoa, stir again, and add 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer, cover, and cook until the quinoa has absorbed all the water and the germ has separated from the seed (it will look like a ring), 20 to 22 minutes. (If there is a little water left, bring back to a simmer and cook for 3 to 4 minutes more to boil off the water.) Remove the pot from the heat and stir once. Put a folded paper towel over the quinoa and cover with the pot lid again for 5 minutes. Uncover, discard the paper towel, and transfer the quinoa to a large, shallow mixing bowl or a large baking sheet (where it will cool more quickly). Let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, combine the black beans, zucchini, tomatoes, corn, peppers, scallions, chopped cilantro, orange juice, the remaining 3 Tbs. olive oil, lime juice, garlic, honey, chili-garlic paste, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Stir well and let sit while the quinoa cools, stirring occasionally.
  • Combine the black bean salad with the cooled quinoa and mix thoroughly. Taste and season as necessary. (It will continue to build flavor as it sits.)
  • Serve, garnished with the pine nuts and cilantro sprigs (if using) at room temperature or chilled, or refrigerate to serve at a cookout or potluck later. It can be made up to a day ahead.


Rate or Review


  • BKHenley | 06/19/2015

    On the grill, I blackened/roasted the corn, red bell and zucchini; then I added 2 roasted poblanos. Seared the grape tomatoes in a very hot skillet along with half a head of minced garlic. OMG it was good. One of my favorite quinoa recipes ever and I've dozens. ;)

  • grlup | 07/24/2014

    Excellent! Lots of prep work involved but worth it. Makes a lot. Will definitely be making again.

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