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This vegan black bean quinoa salad made with edamame, corn, and red peppers is packed with plant protein, dense in nutrients, and a fan favorite among my kids. A slightly spicy lime dressing pulls the fresh flavors together. It’s perfect as a stand alone main dish.
You know those day when you open the refrigerator and you realize you’re running low on supplies, but you’ve got a bunch of random ingredients you need to eat before they spoil?
I was having one of those days. I desperately needed to get to the grocery store, but I hadn’t put together a weekly meal plan, and I didn’t have the energy to do it. We had a little of this and a little that, and I needed to pull something together.
This black bean quinoa salad was what I was able to create with what was in my pantry and the produce at the bottom of my vegetable drawer that needed to be eaten pronto.
There aren’t a lot of things I hate, but I really hate throwing away food. Especially produce that’s gone bad. Luckily I got to the red pepper, and lime before they turned, and made a colorful plant protein packed quinoa bowl that my boys were eager to try. They even asked for seconds!
With some frozen shelled edamame and corn in the freezer, a bag of quinoa, and a can of organic black beans in the pantry, I was able to use what I had on hand, save a trip to the grocery store, and create a meal that’s become a fan favorite in our house.
Ingredients you’ll need to make this Black Bean Quinoa Salad:
- 1 organic red pepper
- 1 lime
- 12 oz bag of frozen shelled edamame
- 12 oz bag of frozen or fresh corn
- 14 oz can of organic black beans
- Cayenne pepper
- Cilantro (optional)
I usually have a bag of frozen shelled edamame in my freezer. Our family enjoys eating edamame with a little salt sprinkled on top as a snack. The shelled edamame will save you time preparing this salad (shelling edamame for this dish adds to the prep time), and if you and the kids like to eat it as a snack, it’s much easier for little fingers to grab.
Quinoa is one of those super foods that’s simply amazing. Quinoa is not a grain, it’s actually a seed, making this salad gluten-free. It’s the only complete plant protein source. It’s got a nutty flavor. I also love quinoa because it’s a time saver! In 15 minutes you have perfectly cooked quinoa. Whereas rice takes 30-40 minutes to prepare. It’s my go-to as a base for stir-fries.
Cumin is an excellent and diverse spice to have on hand. It’s used in many recipes ranging from Mexican to Indian cuisine. It brings an earthy depth of flavor to dishes.
I used cayenne pepper in this recipe. My kids don’t like spicy food, while my husband and I love a little kick. My answer to this dilemma is to leave it out of the main dish, and then my husband and I sprinkle a bit on top of our portions.
If your family doesn’t mind spicy food, you can throw it into the bowl and mix it all together. The measurement of cayenne in this dish does not make it super spicy, it’s just enough to give it a little heat.
You can use fresh or frozen corn in this dish. I had a bag of frozen corn in the freezer, so that was what I used, but fresh corn would be fantastic in this dish.
HOW TO MAKE BLACK BEAN QUINOA – STEP BY STEP
Step 1: Bring water and quinoa to boil in a small pot. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Take off of heat and fluff with a fork.
Step 2: Rinse black beans, and set aside. Dice the red pepper, and cook the corn according to package instructions.
Step 3: Combine the cooked quinoa, black beans, red pepper, and corn together in a medium bowl.
Step 4: In a small bowl squeeze the juice of one lime add the cumin, cayenne, and salt. Or reserve the cayenne if you have picky eaters that don’t like spice. Garnish with cilantro (optional).
As mentioned above you can leave out the cayenne pepper if you don’t like the heat, or substitute black pepper. You can also increase the amount of cayenne if you like more of a kick.
I liked the combination of edamame and black beans. They have a different consistency which is nice in this salad. The edamame is firm, while the black beans are softer. If you don’t have edamame on hand you could sub in another bean such as kidney beans, pinto beans, or lentils.
Tips for making Black Bean Quinoa Salad
The frozen edamame needs to be thawed before combining it in this salad. You can throw the bag in the refrigerator the night before, or if you forget to thaw the edamame before preparing this salad you can thaw it in the microwave.
This salad tastes even better the next day. It’s excellent for leftovers, or to take to work for lunch the next day.
This recipe yields a lot of servings, so you’ll be sure to have leftovers.
Black Bean Quinoa Salad
- 1/2 cup quinoa rinsed
- 1 cup water
- 12 oz bag of frozen edamame
- 12 oz bag of frozen corn
- 14 oz can of organic black beans
- 1 red pepper diced
- 1 lime juiced
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Bring water and quinoa to boil in a small pot. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Take off of heat and fluff with a fork.
- While quinoa is cooking, rinse black beans.
- Cook frozen corn according to package instructions.
- Chop red pepper into small chunks.
- Combine defrosted edamame, black beans, corn, red pepper, and cooked quinoa in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl combine the juice of one lime, cumin, cayenne and salt. Pour over quinoa mixture. Stir to combine.
- Defrost frozen edamame prior to preparing the salad by putting it the refrigerator the night before or quickly defrosting it in the microwave.
- Some quinoa needs to be rinsed before cooking unless the package says it is pre-rinsed and ready to use. Use a metal sieve and run water over quinoa until water runs clear. Drain and transfer to pot.
- Optional: Leave out cayenne and let each person control their own spice.
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