Monday, June 3, 2013

Meatless Monday: A Salad for Every Diet

Last week I promised everyone I would post a recipe rather than a rant this week, and I always do my best to keep my promises. So here goes… 

The heat is rising, and outdoor festivities are filling up the calendar — two great reasons to try out this easy, make-ahead recipe, inspired by a serving suggestion on the back of a bag of Trader Joe’s Organic Red Quinoa

Black Bean, Roasted Corn & Avocado Salad on a Bed of Quinoa


  • 1 cup Red Quinoa
  • 1- 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups corn kernels, toasted by sautéing in a lightly-greased cast iron pan
  • 1 large avocado, cut into 1/2 inch pieces 
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, cut into halves
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • juice of 1 large lime
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • a bunch of your favorite salad greens


Prepare the quinoa.
  • Rinse the quinoa with cold water and drain.  [This is a very important first step. Quinoa that is not rinsed first will have a bitter taste.] Place the quinoa, along with 2 cups of broth or water into a 1-1/2 to 2 cup saucepan. [I added one Not-Chick’n vegetable bouillon cube to 2 cups of cold water.] Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, cover, and cook until all liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, toss with 1/4 cup olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the salad.
  • Combine the beans and vegetables in a large bowl.
  • Make a dressing by combining lime juice with olive oil in a ration of 1:3. [Adjust to your taste.]
  • Pour over the vegetables. Stir gently until all the ingredients are moistened.
  • Wash and spin dry your favorite greens. Tear and place into salad bowl(s) as the base.
  • Spoon quinoa onto the greens.
  • Top with the mixed vegetables.

Colorful. Delicious. Nutritious. A complete summer meal or a hearty potluck dish in under an hour. When served atop greens, the salad makes six very generous servings.

Vegetarians and vegans will love that this dish is high in protein without meat. Vegans will appreciate that it is dairy-free. Paleo dieters should be happy that high-protein, low-carb quinoa is the salad base rather than rice or pasta. Quinoa is also gluten free. A dish for almost everyone, and certainly appropriate for a summer Meatless Monday!

FYI I was happy to discover that Trader Joes' Red Quinoa was not in conflict with any of my Buycott campaigns. Read about Buycott here.

And now for an update on the CT GMO labeling bill that had me ranting last week: In a surprise turn of events, GMO labeling supporters are now celebrating. On Saturday, the CT Senate voted unanimously to support a compromise bill, supported by House leadership, the governor, AND GMO labeling advocates! 

CT is likely to become the first state in the country to pass a GMO labeling law. 

The new bill has a more reasonable trigger clause, but more importantly NO LONGER INCLUDES the exemption for farmers grossing less than 1.5 million dollars. You can read the new bill here. The protest previously called for today has become a party to thank the legislators! Congratulations, Tara Littman-Cook and GMO Free CT.

Good eats! Good news! 

Have a great week.

I often blog on food or food issues on Monday in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.”

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