Monday, August 15, 2011

Mexican Quinoa Salad

Before you skip this entry saying "Quinoa? What is that? That sounds weird....I'm not going to eat that." Let me tell about this awesome supergrain that I have become obsessed with. These little grains pack 4 times the amount of protein as rice (per serving) and have a great amount of fiber! Ok ok, who cares about the health benefits, right? Well, quinoa is great because it has a similar consistancy as short grain brown rice, cooks quickly, and absorbs the flavors of whatever you mix with it.  This flexibility makes it the perfect base for summer salads.

So when I started concocting this Mexican-inspired salad, I knew I wanted black beans, corn, tomatoes, cilantro, etc.  I was a little worried that all these individual components would add up and make the salad expensive. That's when I found that Trader Joe's makes a black bean & corn salsa! My love for this store continues to grow!

To bulk the salad up I added some steamed zucchini, but you can add anything you like! The last time I made this salad (no picture sadly) I also added steamed green beans and sliced avocado on top.  But feel free to add roasted chicken, an extra can of black beans, or whatever else you have in the house!

The greatest part about this salad is that it comes together in less than 15 minutes!

  1. Cook Quinoa.  The directions may vary on the box, but with the Trader Joe's brand, you mix 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water, bring to a boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the water is gone.
  2. Chop and Steam Veggies. Depending on what veggies you choose, simply slice them all to a consistent size. Then, I put them in a Ziplock Zip-n-Steam bag and follow the directions on the bag. 
  3. Mix. In a medium bowl, add the following:
    • One container of black bean salsa 
    • the juice of half a lime 
    • Cooked quinoa (1/2 cup dry quinoa to 1 cup water) 
    • steamed veggies
    • Add salt and pepper to taste
That's it! You can eat it hot or cold; as a side dish or a light lunch.


  1. I make this all the time for lunch! It's perfect for summer and I can make it for the week in a snap. I also add Trader Joe's Orange Champagne vinegar to it with a little extra lime juice and lemon pepper to spice it up, and some tortilla chips for crunch. yayyy quinoa!

  2. Thanks, Aevelsidhe! This recipe was actually inspired by you!!!