Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Avocado Dressing

For our first “guest” post, my wife Melissa reveals one of our weeknight staples. – David

Quinoa is one of those mysterious foods that is supposed to be healthy but I never knew what to do with it, until a colleague suggested that I try it with black beans and avocado. From there, I improvised until I came up with this recipe. The dish has a nice balance of flavors: well-seasoned beans, rich avocado, and a good hit of vinegar all tossed with al dente quinoa. It’s relatively easy to make, its vegan and can be made with items in your pantry.

If you need some good quinoa for your pantry, we like this kind or this other kind.

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Avocado Dressing

1/2 cup quinoa
1 avocado
1 14-ounce can black beans
1 small purple onion
2-3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
Paprika, Espelette pepper, chili powder, or other spices of your choice
Canola or other neutral oil
Extra virgin olive oil
Red or white wine vinegar

1. Cook the quinoa by placing it in a small saucepan with a cup of water. Bring it to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes or so over low heat until the quinoa is done. You will know your quinoa is ready because the little squiggle will have popped out and it will taste tender yet still al dente.

2. Chop the onion and garlic cloves, and rinse the black beans. Heat a pan with some neutral oil, and saute the onions for a few minutes until they have softened slightly. Add the black beans, chopped garlic, and spices with salt and pepper. Stir and let the mixture cook for another few minutes.

3. Dice the avocado. Reserving half of the avocado, put the rest of the avocado in a mixing bowl large enough to hold the beans and quinoa and smash it with a fork. Add 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons of vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper and whisk until it creates a smooth dressing.

4. When the quinoa is done, combine it with the avocado dressing, the chopped avocado, and the black bean mixture. Mix to combine. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Total time: 25 minutes
Makes about 4 servings

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