Today I decided to whip up a Mango Avocado Black Bean Quinoa Salad, a vegetarian/vegan salad with fruits, grains and beans. I got the idea as I was staring at the bowlfuls of mangos and avocados that have been sitting on my kitchen counter the last several days.
For those of you who are not familiar with quinoa, quinoa is actually a seed, not a grain, and is a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. It is sometimes referred to as an ancient grain as it was once considered to be the “gold of the Incas.” Quinoa is a “complete protein,” meaning it contains all 9 essential amino acids. In addition, quinoa is a good source of manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, iron, folate, and fiber.
Before cooking quinoa, it must be rinsed thoroughly to remove its bitter-tasing coating (saponins). Cooked quinoa is fluffy and soft, with a little bit of crunch to it.
Mango Avocado & Black Bean Quinoa Salad
I used red quinoa, but you can use white or black quinoa. This is not a precise recipe, as mangos and avocados come in all different sizes. I like the silkier texture of Ataulfo or Champagne over the more fibrous Tommy Atkins variety.
• 1 cup quinoa, well rinsed
• 2 cups water
• 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
• 2 tablespoons raspberry balsamic vinegar
• 1 large or 2 small mangos, diced
• 1 avocado, diced
• 1 ½ cups cooked black beans or 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed well and drained
• 1 red bell pepper, diced
• ¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped
• ¼ cup mint, finely chopped
• ¼ cup scallions, minced
• ½ -1 whole jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely minced
• juice of 1 lime
• salt and pepper, to taste
1. To cook quinoa, place well rinsed quinoa in a small saucepan with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low and cook, covered, for 15 minutes or until water is completely absorbed and quinoa is fluffy. Transfer to a large bowl.
2. Whisk together olive oil and raspberry balsamic vinegar. Add to quinoa and leave uncovered until cool. (Can be refrigerated until ready to finish making salad.)
3. When quinoa is cool, add mangos, avocado, black beans, red bell pepper, cilantro, mint, scallions, jalapeno pepper, and lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
[Photography c/o Jeanette Chen's Healthy Living Blog]