Friday, September 14, 2012

Quinoa, Black Beans, and Cilantro Salad

Even though it's starting to feel like fall in the rest of the country we still have 90 degree weather here in Texas.  Trust me, it's a nice change from the 100 degree weather we had for the past few weeks.  Even though it's still summer weather I've been getting excited to make fall dishes like pumpkin bread, sweet potatoes, butternut squash and many other things.  But I've decided to wait and do a few more summer dishes that I won't want to do in a few months.  One of them is quinoa, black beans and cilantro.  I'm sure it could be a dish for another season but cilantro always makes me think of summer and it doesn't seem right to have it at another time of year.

Usually I've always bought black beans in a jar but when Steve and I were in the grocery store we ended up in the dried bean aisle so we tried them out.  This is the first time I've used dried black beans and I like them SO much better than the canned ones.  The texture isn't as soggy and there is more flavor.  The only down side to using dried beans is you have to plan in advance enough to soak the beans for at least 6 hours before you start cooking them.  They also take about an hour and half to two hours so you have to make sure you have that prep time.  This dish can easily be made with canned beans if you don't have the time.

Quinoa, Black Beans and Cilantro Salad                             Servings: 3 to 5
1 cup dried black beans                                                            Time: 6 hours, mostly unattended
1/4 teaspoon cumin
dash garlic powder
dash onion powder
pinch hing or Asafoetida **
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
1 cup dry quinoa
3/4 to 1 cup cilantro, chopped
Salt and Pepper

** Hing or Asafoetida is an herb that is in the parsley family and comes from Afghanistan.  It has a strong pungent smell and should be stored in a sealed jar.  However, there is only a smell and doesn't alter the taste of the food.  In Auyrveda hing helps with the digestion of beans.  
Soak the beans for at least 5 hours before cooking them.  When they have soaked drain out the excess water. Put the soaked beans in a medium to large sized pot and add in 4 cups of warm water.  Bring the water to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer.  Simmer the beans for 1 1/2 to 2 hours stirring periodically.  When the beans are done drain the excess water and put the beans back on the stove over low heat.  Stir in the cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, coriander, and hing.  Prepare the quinoa to the directions on the package.  When the quinoa is done mix it in with the beans and add the cilantro.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve while still warm or when it has cooled.  Enjoy this healthy summery salad!!!!

Steve made a quesadilla with leftover cornish game hen so he could get his meat in. He suggests it as an addition for anyone wanting to add meat to the meal. 


  1. Made a variation of this with sauteed onions, garlic, red peppers, and mexican herbs and spices. Thanks for the inspiration.