Meatless Monday: Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

White quinoa, foreground, is lighter and fluffier. Red quinoa, background, is chewier with a more robust flavor. (Not pictured, black quinoa.)
Quinoa’s Vitamin E can help improve immunity levels.

Followers of Blog onHealth’s Meatless Monday series have heard about many of quinoa’s nutritional benefits. What you may not know is that there are about 120 known varieties of this superfood, according to the Whole Grains Council.

The most common are white, red and black quinoa:

  • Sometimes also called ivory quinoa, white quinoa is the most common on store shelves. It has the most delicate taste of the three major types and a light, fluffy texture.
  • Red quinoa has a more robust taste and a chewier consistency. Since it retains color well after cooking, red quinoa is a nice addition to cold salads.
  • Black quinoa has an earthier, sweeter flavor and a crunchier texture. Try it as a breakfast alternative.

Rinse Quinoa First

Whatever color, it is important to rinse quinoa before cooking. The USDA advises rinsing quinoa in a fine mesh strainer until the water runs clear to rid the seeds of their natural bitter coating.

Advances in Food and Nutrition Research calls quinoa’s Vitamin E content “notable.” Vitamin E is an antioxidant that removes free radicals that harm the body’s cells, organs and tissues. This nutrient has been proven to improve immunity levels and is a key factor in forming red blood cells, which helps the body use Vitamin K. Vitamin E also widens blood vessels and keeps dangerous blood clots from forming.

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

Makes six 1-cup servings.

Calories: 208. Fat: 5g (1g, saturated). Sodium: 284mg.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup, quinoa
  • 1½ cup, water
  • 1½ tbsp., olive oil
  • 3 tbsp., lime juice
  • ¼ tsp., cumin
  • ¼ tsp., ground coriander (dried cilantro seeds)
  • 2 tbsp., cilantro, chopped
  • 2 medium scallions, minced
  • 1 can (15½ oz.), low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cup, tomato, chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 fresh green chilis (or to taste), minced

Instructions:

  1. Rinse the quinoa in cold water until the water runs clear (not cloudy).
  2. Boil 1½ cups of water in a saucepan, then add the quinoa. Return to boil, then simmer until the water is absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes.
  3. As the quinoa cooks, mix olive oil, lime juice, cumin, coriander, cilantro, and scallions in a small bowl. Set aside.
  4. Combine chopped vegetables with black beans in a large bowl. Set aside.
  5. Once the quinoa has cooled, combine all ingredients and mix well.
  6. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe, courtesy of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

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