Red Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

Quinoa (KEEN-wah) are technically seeds in the herb category but classified as grains. They were an important source of food for the ancient Incas, and have been wildly popularized here in US for their beautiful color and wonderful texture.

Over one-third of my church family consists of youth and children under 18 years of age (a sign of healthy, vibrant church!), and sometimes I am somewhat hesitant to introduce foods too unfamiliar to this younger group. But, I sighed a short prayer and gave this a try for our Sunday evening fellowship meal, which was well attended by 300-some people.

My heart was so glad to see children coming back for seconds! Children can be the best food critics, and I think you will enjoy this beautiful salad, too!

There are white and red Quinoa available at local health food stores. I chose red for its vibrant color!

To achieve a fluffy texture, Quinoa must be boiled in salted water first and then steamed. Put boiled Quinoa in a cheese cloth and steam in colander placed over a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes. See how the red color is retained after cooking?

Rinse and drain black beans, fresh corn kernels, green onions, cilantro, tri-colored peppers, jalanpenos, and red Quinoa to make this colorful dish!

This salad was served with beef tacos, guacamole, and all the taco fixin's . Elvis Cream Pie (will post later) completed the meal, and everyone went home with their spirits well nourished from good preaching and their tummies satisfied. What a great way to end the Lord's Day!

Print This Recipe

Red Quinoa and Black Bean Salad
Serves 4-6

1 1/2 cups red quinoa
1 Tablespoon salt, add when boiling quinoa
1 can black beans, 14 oz, rinsed, and drained
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from about 2 large ears)
1 cup finely chopped colored sweet peppers, red or orange or any combination
1 jalapeƱo chilies, seeded and minced (wear rubber gloves)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions

For dressing
5 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 clove of garlic, grated
1 teaspoons ground cumin, or to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/3 cup olive oil
Freshly ground pepper to taste

In a small bowl whisk together lime juice, salt, minced garlic, chopped cilantro, and cumin and add oil in a stream, whisking. Add pepper to taste. Set aside.

In a large bowl wash quinoa in at least 5 changes cold water, rubbing grains and letting them settle before pouring off most of water, until water runs clear and drain in a large fine sieve.

In a medium size pot, add 1 tablespoon of salt to 1-1/2 quarts of boiling water and cook quinoa 10 minutes. Prepare colander with cheese cloth over and drain quinoa into cheese cloth.
Add 2 inches of water into the pot and bring water to boil. Cover cooked quinoa with the edges of cheesecloth and cover with a lid , steam for additional 10 minutes. Do not let quinoa touch water. Fluff quinoa with a fork and cool.

Combine in a large mixing bowl, beans, and remaining vegetables, herbs, and cooled quinoa. Toss gently with dressing. Can be prepared a day ahead for flavors to combine. Serve room temperature.


  1. What a pretty dish, I love all the the ingredients

  2. Amen! A great way to spend the Lord's Day! =)

  3. best photos i've seen so far. love the textures/colors and framing.

  4. Wow, sounds excellent for this vegetarian... i will definitely try... i've only ever used white quinoa so i must check out my local health food store for the red - it does look vibrant!

  5. A very different bean salad this is for my family to try. Thanks for something we haven't come across before.

  6. You got some truly beautiful shots there. I love the one with all the ingredients piled on the plate together, stunning! This dish looks perfect; tasty healthy and gorgeous. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Hey Kay, this is a beautiful salad, and so truly healthful. You know, I have some organic quinoa that is just that color, and my Mom just brought me a bunch of groceries down from Atlanta (from The Dekalb Farmer's Market-its' awesome!). So I have a load of black beans too. I think this will be on my table this week...
    p.s. This is a great way to end the Lord's day indeed!

  8. Thanks, Ladies and Nate for your sweet comments! Stella, I used the organic quinoa in this recipe, isn't it just beautiful? I LOVE Dekalb Farmer's market!

  9. Hey Kay, I just wrote you an e-mail. Sorry for the late response! My Mom's in town and I've been entertaining (not on-line too much)!;)
    Good Night, Kay. Stella

  10. This looks and sounds so delicious! I wish my church would start up fellowship dinners like this! :)

  11. Oh man this looks delicious! And your photographs are beautiful! Everything here looks great!
    I recently launched my own blog, I'd love for you to check it out and let me know what you think! :) Thanks!

  12. These photos are ravishing! The study of salad elements carefully diced before blending is just amazing, Kay!

  13. This looks like a wonderful recipe! We adore quinoa in our house. Before I make this, I just want to make sure that there is a full cup of chopped cilantro in this (dressing plus quinoa part). Is that a misprint or is it correct?