And the winner is… (Black Bean and Quinoa Salad)

Taste of YSN

I think the easiest way to entice non-vegans to try vegan foods is offer ones that are vegan by nature, like this one. I make this for a lot of pot-luck type events, and it’s always well recieved. It introduces people to a grain other than wheat or rice and has a beautiful, clean, fresh-tasting flavor profile. It’s the one dish I made where there were absolutely NO leftovers!

A note on the beans: I use the quick cook/short soak method for cooking dried beans. Basically, instead of soaking over-night, you do the whole picking over and rining them, and then bringing them to a boil in water that sits about an inch above the beans, and letting it boil for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, and let them soak (covered) for 3-4 hours. Then proceed with cooking by the regular instructions (which would be to drain and rinse, then bring to a boil and simmer- with black beans it’s for 1.5 hours). I added a dried chipotle chili during the first stage of cooking- it imparted a bit of a heated, earthy flavor, but very mild and not spicy. It was great.


Black Bean and Quinoa Salad

One of the great things about a salad like this is that what you actually use is completely up to you. I once read a recipe like this, and now what I present here is more or less how I make it. Feel free to add you own twist to it! You can use different herbs, vinegars, vegetables, beans… it’s up to you! It’s not a medication- mix it up any way you want!

A note on parsley: Use fresh, Flat (“Italian”) Parsley. Don’t confuse this for it’s flashier looking cousin, Curley Parsley. That stuff may be attractive, but it has no flavor. Also, the fresher, the better. Last time I made this dish before Taste of YSN I went to the farm stand down the street from my old apartment- but they didn’t have any parsley out on the counter. I asked if they maybe had any out back. One of the farm owner’s kids went out and picked a large bunch for me. Best way the salad ever came out!

1/2 Cup quinoa (uncooked), rinsed well
1 Cup water or vegetable broth
1 Cup black beans, cooked, drained and rinsed well (canned are fine, dried are cheaper)
1 Cup fresh or frozen roasted corn kernels
1 small onion, finely diced, or 1 bunch scallions, white and light green parts only, sliced
1-2 carrots, grated
1/2 of a red bell pepper, diced

1-2 Tbs Canola (or other mild-tasting, such as corn, safflower, or grapeseed) Oil
2 Tbs Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 cup minced Flat Parsley leaves (do not use dried, or you will make me cry. If you have not other choice than dried, Use only a tablespoon or so.)
1-2 cloves garlic, minced (again, use fresh. If you have to use dried, reduce the amount to taste.)
salt and pepper to taste

Add the washed quinoa to a sauce pan with the vegetable broth or water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover, stirring occasionally. After 10 minutes, add the corn kernels. After another 5 minutes, quinoa should be cooked. Remove from heat and cool, preferably in the refrigerator, for anywhere from an hour to overnight. When cooled, transfer to a large bowl. Add the grated carrot, red peppers, onion and beans, mix well.

In a separate bowl, whisk all the ingredients from the canola oil to the salt and pepper together. Add slowly to the large bowl while mixing with a large spoon; all the dressing may not be needed. The salad can be eaten as is right now, but the flavors will be stronger if you let it sit (refrigerated) overnight.

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