Kale Quinoa Black Bean Salad
Who would think that this Kale Quinoa Black Bean Salad could be so good and still be food for you?
Raise your hand if you’ve recently eaten too much and need a detox? Raise your hand also if you hate the thought of another boring salad to help you get there? This may be the salad to make you feel good, detox a bit but love every last minute of eating it while getting there!
I knew it deserved a passing grade when the Wonderful guy ate it and said, “Hey this is good!” It was a bittersweet victory because I’d planned on having it to eat for a few days and there were no leftovers. Even the kids loved it. Chock full of kale, quinoa, black beans and even more vegetables, this salad keeps for days and holds up to even having dressing on it. It’s light and refreshing and delicious.
First let me introduce you to “quinoa” if you haven’t had it.
Quinoa is not pronounced Quin-O-uh like I first thought when I saw the word. It is pronounced “Keen-wah” and is loaded with enough good-for-you things like protein, iron and amino acids that The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has officially declared that the year 2013 be recognized as “The International Year of the Quinoa.”
Who the heck are these people and why do they get to name International Years?
So now, if you haven’t met it, let me also introduce you to “kale”. There are two kinds – curly kale.
And Dinosaur or Lacinato Kale.
Many people prefer the Dinosaur Kale for it’s sweeter and milder flavor, but I kind of love the frills of Curly Kale for holding every drop of the dressing you dress it with.
When I was a teenager, I worked at the old Burger King and I was in charge of maintaining the salad bar on occasion. The kale on our salad bar wasn’t in the crocks of fresh veggies but carefully tucked around the containers on the salad bar for decoration.
I confess when the kale revolution started in the past few years, due to my decorative “kale experience” I just couldn’t believe it was edible. Just like I thought parsley was just for decorating the side of a dinner plate.
My, how my horizons have grown.
And my bottom. Thus, I created this salad recipe.
Anyway, back to kale. Then, thanks to my sis-in-law, I tried it in a soup.
And I loved it.
And then I tried it raw at the Whole Foods salad bar in place of lettuce.
And I adored it. And now I buy it primarily in the place of lettuce. For one thing, it keeps forever. I keep throwing away those big boxes of spring mix at my house. They go bad so quickly.
And just listen to this rock star lineup of health benefits. Kale is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Folate, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. Some are touting it “the best leafy green out there” even over spinach and swiss chard.
I wanted to combine both of these powerhouses together in one salad and here is how I did it…
Start out by making your quinoa. Friends advised me to make it in the rice cooker and it works perfectly. Standard fixing requires one part quinoa to two parts liquid or water, but you can also follow the package directions and make it on the stove in a pot if you wish. Since it takes awhile to cook, I always make extra but for this recipe, you need 2 cups cooked or 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa.
While that’s cooking, let’s make the dressing and chop up some veggies.
The dressing – make it right in the bottom of a large bowl, then chop your veggies and add them and toss it all together.
Take one large lemon and zest the entire thing, but don’t get the white pith, just the yellow peel!
Now cut your lemon in half and squeeze both halves into the bowl. This equals about 1/4 cup of lemon juice.
Add in 1/4 teaspoon of coriander (powdered, not whole) and 1/2 teaspoon of cumin.
Now add in 1 teaspoon of one of my favorite ingredients. Chili paste.
I love this stuff but you could substitute 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes if you like.
Add in 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro.
Usually with vinaigrettes, the ratio of oil to vinegar is 3 to 1 oil to vinegar but I always use less oil. So I drizzled in about 1/2 cup olive oil.
Everyone has their own tastes in dressing so learn your ratio preference and it’ll be a snap to make dressing.
I also added about 1/4 cup honey to sweeten it up a bit.
Then mix this all up with a whisk.
Dump in one can of drained and rinsed black beans.
I adore black beans. I always order them at Mexican places while Mr. W orders borracho beans.
Next cut up your kale.
First, remove the larger “spines”.
You can either cut them out with a knife or just bend the leaf in half and rip along the spine.
I’ve found the secret to really good kale salads is to slice across the leaves as thinly as possible so take your time and slice it super thin.
Add three cups of this green super food stuff to your bowl.
Also grate up one large carrot.
Chop up one red pepper in small chunks.
Add all your veggies to the dressing and kale.
By now, your quinoa should be cooked.
If you’re anxious like me to eat this immediately, rinse it in a colander (a fine mesh one!) under cold water.
Dump in two full cups of it right onto your salad.
And mix everything up really well. Dig deep and make sure you get all that luscious dressing coated over everything.
And just before you serve it, chop up one avocado and add it in.
This salad keeps well for days so only add the amount of avocado you’re going to eat now.
Next up – eat up my friends! I took one bite of this…and I loved it!
I hope you love it as much as I do!
- 2 cups cooked quinoa (about ¾ cup uncooked)
- 1 large lemon, zested and juiced (1/4 c. juice, 1 T. zest)
- ¼ t. coriander
- ½ t. cumin
- 1 t. chili paste (or ¼ t. chili flakes)
- ¼ c. cilantro, chopped
- ½ c. extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ c. honey
- 3 c. thinly shredded kale leaves, raw
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 large carrot, grated
- ½ red pepper, chopped
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1 avocado, chopped
- Cook quinoa (one cup quinoa to 2 cups water) according to package directions. Zest and juice lemon into large bowl.
- Add coriander, cumin, chili paste, cilantro and mix.
- Drizzle in olive oil while whisking vigorously.
- Add honey and mix well.
- Chop kale thinly and add to bowl along with the remaining ingredients except avocado.
- Toss well with dressing.
- Chop avocado and add at last minute.
I’m participating in Food Network’s Sensational Sides event this week. Join these other wonderful bloggers in their Sensational Sides adventure using grains!
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Chinese Shrimp Fried Rice
Devour: Farro Salad With Greek Yogurt
Dishin & Dishes: Kale, Quinoa and Black Bean Salad
The Cultural Dish: Lemon Risotto
The Sensitive Epicure: Stir-Fried Quinoa With Chinese Vegetables
Virtually Homemade: Spring Couscous Salad With a Citrus Vinaigrette
Made By Michelle: Really Good Granola
Cooking With Elise: Mediterranean Orzo Salad
Weelicious: Mushroom Barley
Thursday Night Dinner: Quinoa Salad With Cucumbers, Tomatoes and Mint
FN Dish: Good Grains Make for Balanced Meals
Feed Me Phoebe: Millet Salad With Roasted Fennel and Tomatoes