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Well hello there. I know I should’ve posted this recipe last week but I spent last week doing major R&R after a packed summer. How have you been?
So in case I haven’t talked about it enough, I conducted a vegan cooking demo at Yummy Magazine‘s fabulous food fair last May the 26th in Rockwell Tent called Yummy Eats. It was pretty packed. My face appeared on the big screen which I did not expect. My team and I prepared enough samples for a small army. I was slightly nervous but I was comforted by the fact that I get to share my vegetable nerdery with people who don’t necessarily make vegetables a priority in their diet.
Lots of good food went around – mostly omnivorous. There were 2 vegetarian tables, though.
Wabi Sabi Noodle House and Vegetarian Grocery had a pretty artistic table (they won the award for best design) and gave out samples of vegan chicharon. Their kuapao sandwich rocked, too. Pipino Vegetarian had a booth as well and gave out free samples of vegan mac and cheese and Cuban grilled corn.
The vegetarian love is slowly growing!
I made 3 dishes for the demo and I promised folks I would post the recipes on my blog. I’ve decided to post them in 3 parts. Part 1, here we go.
The rainbow black bean and quinoa salad was the first dish I demonstrated — colorful (from the veggies and beans!), refreshing (from the lime and herbs!), low in fat (1 tablespoon for the whole salad? Shut up!), high in protein and fiber, easy to prep (throw everything in a bowl and mix), baon-friendly (it stores well in the fridge and is fantastic cold or room temperature). Make it for the office, make it for a potluck. Basically, it’s a dream to make – you can assemble this in your sleep.
For those who aren’t familiar with quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), this is a seed from Peru that is culinarily treated like a grain. After the potato, quinoa was of great nutritional importance to the pre-Columbian civilizations of the Andean region. This wholegrain is high in protein and fiber and as with other grains – high in minerals such as iron and potassium. But unlike other grains, quinoa is complete in amino acids (aka a complete protein). Quinoa cooks faster than brown rice and retains its fluffy texture even after refrigeration.
You can purchase quinoa from Healthy Options and S&R. S&R sells quinoa in larger bags making it cheaper by unit. It is more expensive than brown rice but it’s a fun grain to play around with. Quinoa comes in white, red, and black varieties but it’s the white kind that’s available locally.
- Quinoa can be cooked stovetop in a saucepan or in a rice cooker. The basic formula is 1 part grain to 2 parts water.
- Definitely rinse quinoa well in a strainer before cooking as it is coated in saponin which makes it bitter-tasting.
- Two ways to cook quinoa: [a] If you start with room temperature water and throw everything in a pot, the result will be slightly sticky but still usable in the salad. [b] If you start with boiling water and throw in the dried quinoa, the result will be slightly fluffier and drier.
- Stir once only, if needed. Stir more than once and the quinoa’s starches will be released, making it stickier than what you want.
A word about this salad – don’t be limited by the bean or grain. Any component of this salad can be substituted for something else.
- Black beans – this will have to be cooked from dried beans as the canned variety isn’t available locally. If you don’t have dried black beans on hand, did not have time to soak them before cooking, or want to make this recipe pronto, do replace with any of the following legumes: chickpeas, white beans, kidney beans, lentils. These are all available canned. Lentils can be cooked from scratch in 25 minutes by the way.
- Quinoa – Other good substitutions: brown rice, barley, and couscous (not a wholegrain unfortunately). A word about brown rice: this may be substituted IF you are serving the salad right after assembly. As I mentioned above, brown rice tends to toughen when refrigerated so leftovers would have to be reheated to make it more palatable. If you’re adamant about using brown rice but will be making the salad ahead of time, I suggest mixing the salad sans rice, refrigerating it, and adding the cooked rice (heated through / room temp until palatable) right before service.
Serve the salad as is, on a bed of lettuce, wrapped in a tortilla, stuffed in large tomatoes or roasted bell peppers.
On to the recipe…
RAINBOW BLACK BEAN AND QUINOA SALAD
Makes 4 to 6 servings
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup dried quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup cooked black beans
1 small red onion, finely minced
1 bell pepper, seeded and diced
4 tomatoes, diced (leave seeds intact)
1 large cucumber, seeded and diced
1 1/2 mangoes, diced
Juice and zest of 2 limes
2 tbsp red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or cane vinegar, or to taste
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Large handful of cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
- Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan. Add in the quinoa, cumin, salt, and red pepper flakes. Stir once; decrease heat to low and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, partially covered, until cooked. The quinoa should be translucent.
- Turn off the heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and cool down to room temperature.
- Mix the quinoa and the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. Adjust for seasonings accordingly.
To cook black beans from scratch:
1/2 cup dried black beans, picked over and rinsed
- Place the beans in a food container and cover with plenty of water. Let soak in the refrigerator for at least 8 to 12 hours.
- Drain and rinse. Place the soaked beans in a saucepan and cover with water to cover by 3 inches. Add a few big pinches of salt.
- Bring the beans up to a boil; lower the heat and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours until tender (the longer the beans soak, the quicker they cook).
Yield: about 1 cup.
- You might as well cook a bigger batch of beans than whats called for in the recipe and store them in the fridge or freezer for future meals. Always store cooked beans submerged in water in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days or in the freezer for a few months. Note that dried beans double or triple in size when cooked.
- Dried beans are INSANELY cheap at P8 per cup, cooked. A big can of chickpeas yields a heaping 1 cup and costs P23. Other canned beans cost about P33 per cup. One serving of cooked quinoa (1/4 cup dry, 1/2 to 3/4 cup cooked) costs roughly P33 if you purchase from Healthy Options.
- This whole recipe will cost you roughly P200 and yields 4 to 6 servings. It won’t cost you your health, either 😉