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Simple Summer Salad: Beans + Quinoa = Dinner Delight

July 21, 2011

With warm nights and busy schedules, this time of year is great for simple summer salads.  Each year I am on the lookout for new options to add to my recipe repertoire and I tend to come across at least one new recipe that makes me think, “Wow, how did I live without you in my life?!”  This past weekend I ran into (well, ate!) one of this year’s new favorites.

This simple bean and quinoa recipe is one that I immediately had to replicate (and modify) at home. My mother found it in an issue of Rachael Ray magazine and served it at a family cookout and I think it is a real winner.

(As usual I had to change things up a bit:  My version of the recipe, which is below,  includes a variety of beans, feta cheese, fresh mint and lemon zest to give a bit more depth of flavor and to make it more of a meal instead of a side dish.  I also served it on a bed of mixed greens.)

INGREDIENTS:
One 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

One 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa (1 cup raw)

1 medium red onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup of feta cheese

2 bunches basil, stems discarded and leaves chopped

1 bunch of mint, stems discarded and leaves chopped

Juice of 1 1/2 lemons

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

A little lemon zest (about a teaspoon)

Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:
I cooked the quinoa as directed on the package, rinsing well as usual.

Once I got the quinoa cooking on the stove, I rinsed my basil and mint and did a rough chop.  I then placed the herbs in a large bowl with the kidney beans, chickpeas, feta and chopped red onion.

In a small separate bowl I juiced my two lemons and added in a bit of zest for an extra kick; I then whisked in the olive oil and the dressing was ready to go.

Once the quinoa was ready I combined all the ingredients in the large bowl, poured the dressing over the salad and served everything on a bed of greens.

Note:  The beans, quinoa and cheese offer plenty of protein as a main dish, but this recipe is also excellent as a side dish with either grilled chicken or shrimp.–Rachel

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 21, 2011 2:33 pm

    I do this sort of dish quite frequently. I’m not too fond of chickpeas in a dish, but just love mixing kidney or black beans with quinoa.

    I have all of the ingredients, so I will make this using the chickpeas.

    This would be my meal, as I eat very little meat!

  2. August 10, 2011 2:31 am

    This is really interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I have joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your great post. Also, I have shared your web site in my social networks!

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