Black Bean and Quinoa Salad

Cook’s notes
: This excellent recipe is adapted from the Pam Anderson formula for bean and grain salads.

2 cups cooked quinoa
15-oz. can canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup canned corn, drained
1 cup diced tomato
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
4 thin-sliced scallions
1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
Dressing: 1/3 cup of your favorite vinaigrette: lemon vinaigrette

Following package instructions, cook the quinoa and place in a large bowl.

Add beans, veggies, cheese, and herbs to bowl.

When ready to serve, drizzle salad with your favorite vinaigrette and toss to coat.

Small batch version

  • 1/2 cup cooked grains
  • 1/2 cup beans
  • 3/4 cup veggies
  • 1/8 cup cheese
  • 1 scallion
  • 1 teaspoon dried herbs
  • 4 teaspoons dressing

Adapted from A Formula for Bean and Grain Salads — Three Many Cooks


Quinoa Breakfast Bowl


Berries, quinoa, and yogurt: Better than cereal

Fun fact: “Quinoa increases 4 times in size when cooked. To cook quinoa, you use a 2:1 ratio, or you would use two cups of water for every 1 cup of dry quinoa” (link). This means if you cook 2.5 cups of quinoa, ahem, you get 10 cups of cooked grains. Not 5 cups like rice. Whoops. So…I had a lot of cooked quinoa.

This simple recipe is adapted from a muesli breakfast in the Anti-Detox Diet (link), “a guide to healthy eating that is simple, achievable, and even enjoyable” that includes “more vegetables, fruits, and whole food, and less added sugar and processed food.”

  • 1/2 cup frozen berries, thawed
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • Drizzle of honey (just a little)
  • 1/2 cup plain, fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons lightly diced nuts (cashew pieces or almonds)

Place frozen berries in a bowl and microwave on high until thawed.  Add quinoa and microwave another 20 seconds or so to warm up the grains. The quinoa will soak up some of the thawed berry juice. Top with yogurt, honey, and nuts.

Vegan Lunch: Kale, Brown Rice, and Beans Salad

Cook’s notes: I was inspired to make this dish after reading an article about having a “can o’ beans lunch” (link). This was quick to make and easy to pack for lunch at work. I used the Trader Joe’s brand frozen organic brown rice, which cooks in just 3 minutes in the microwave.

For seasoning, I used Trader Joe’s South African Smoke seasoning blend (smoked paprika, sea salt, garlic, and basil). It is packaged in a grinder. It is much more interesting than just salt and pepper, and it goes great with sauteed greens. This meal was very filling.

BONUS: More bean lunch ideas are at the bottom of this post.

Eat more kale

Serves one
Vegan, gluten free

2 cups (85 g) mixed baby kales — weigh it on a gram scale
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 cup canned white beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 small avocado, diced
5 pitted kalamata olives

Microwave the rice according to package directions. While the rice cooks, lightly coat a skillet with cooking spray. Saute the kale on medium-high heat until tender and wilted, about two minutes. Season to taste (see notes).

Combine the kale with the rice, beans, avocado, and olives. Serve warm with fruit for dessert.

Estimated nutritional values:
10 g fiber; dietary exchanges of 1.7 carbs, 2 vegetables, and 0.9 oz protein.

Nutritional Analysis – from
Good points: High in dietary fiber and magnesium; Low in saturated fat, sodium, and sugar; No cholesterol; Very high in manganese, vitamin A, and vitamin C

Other bean lunch combos:
Some of these suggestions were adapted from comments on the original article. Start with a 15-ounce can beans (rinsed and drained). Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

  • Beans, grilled vegetables, and quinoa
  • Black beans, 1 Tbsp lime juice, and 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder. Serve with cooked quinoa, tomato salsa (or corn salsa), and shredded cheese.
  • Black beans, corn, pesto, cheese, and brown rice
  • Black beans, scrambled egg, onion, tomato, and avocado in a burrito
  • 10-Minute Mediterranean Chickpea Salad (link)
  • Smashed Chickpea & Avocado Salad (link)
  • Chickpeas, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan (link); serve with a roll and a mixed green salad
  • Chickpeas, corn, avocado, diced tomato, red bell pepper, chopped black olives, and Italian or Greek herbs
  • White beans, brown rice, sauteed zucchini, grated Parmesan
  • White beans: Heat jarred spaghetti sauce and add white beans. Smash some of the beans; serve on toasted French bread with an extra drizzle of olive oil

Vegan Quinoa Salad: Broccoli with Lemon Vinaigrette

Cook’s notes: We had a “healthy harvest” potluck at work to celebrate the fall season. This was one of three quinoa dishes I made during the week. Leave the peels on the apple. I combined several recipes to create this salad with a vegan lemon vinaigrette dressing and broccoli.

Serves 6 to 8
Vegan, Gluten free

1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups water

3 to 4 medium sweet potatoes (yields 4 cups diced potato)
2 cups broccoli florets (about 5.8 oz or 2/3 a head)
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and diced (about 4.8 oz after prep) — do not peel
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder

1/4 cup lemon juice
1/8 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Bring the water and quinoa to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to simmer, add the spices, and cover with a lid. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until quinoa is soft and fluffy and water is absorbed.

While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the sweet potato: Scrub it and pierce the skin. Microwave on the potato setting until tender. Remove from microwave, cut in half, and let it cool. Peel and diced the cooked sweet potato; discard the potato peelings. Measure out 4 cups of sweet potato. (Reserve any extra sweet potato for another dish, like breakfast tacos with scrambled eggs.)

Lightly coat a skillet with cooking spray. Saute the broccoli florets until they begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Stir in the apple, water, and ginger and cook until tender and heated through — 2 to 3 more minutes. Broccoli should still be bright green.

In a large bowl, combine quinoa, 4 cups sweet potato pieces, and the broccoli mix. Stir to combine.

In a jar with a tightly fitting lid, combine the dressing ingredients and shake well. Pour the dressing over the quinoa. Stir to coat.

An 8 oz (225 g) serving fills a two-cup container nicely. Each 8 oz (225 g) serving has an estimated 7.7 g fiber, 2.5 carb servings (for quinoa and potato), 0.3 fruit/veggie serving, and 1.1 protein serving.


Vegan Quinoa: Apple and Sweet Potato

Cook’s notes: We had a “healthy harvest” potluck at work to celebrate the fall season. I did a search for recipes with sweet potato and apple and found this wonderful vegan salad. We like the Trader Joe’s brand organic tricolor quinoa. I omitted the onion and pine nuts and added some cinnamon. I also increased the amount of dried cranberries and sweet potato. Leave the peels on the apple. There are some great colors in this dish: red apple, green apple, orange sweet potato, red cranberries, and the light and dark quinoa grains. The cinnamon really makes this dish special. You could eat it for breakfast.

Quinoa salad

Serves 6 to 8
Vegan, Gluten free

1 cup uncooked tricolor quinoa
2 sweet potatoes (about 24 oz), scrubbed and pierced with a fork
1 Granny Smith apple (about 6 oz), cored and diced
1 Gala apple (about 6 oz), cored and diced
1 cup (5 oz) dried cranberries
Cinnamon powder, to taste

3 Tbsp cider vinegar
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Rinse and drain the quinoa. Cook quinoa on the stovetop according to package directions.

While the quinoa cooks, microwave the sweet potatoes on the Potato setting until done. Cut in half and let cool. Peel and diced the cooked sweet potato; discard the potato peelings.

Combine the quinoa, diced sweet potato, diced apple, and dried cranberries in a large bowl.

Make the dressing: Place the vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well until the dressing thickens. Pour dressing over the quinoa mixture and stir well to combine.

Serve warm or at room temperature with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Adapted from The Perfect Pantry (link).

An 8 oz (225 g) serving fills a two-cup container nicely. This recipe makes about 6 such servings. Each 8 oz (225 g) serving has an estimated 7.8 g fiber, 2.2 carb servings (for quinoa and potato), 0.7 fruit serving, and 0.9 serving protein.