Ready in less than 30 minutes, this delicious, healthy Mediterranean quinoa salad is rich in protein and also vegan.
I prefer to use a combination of white and red kidney beans for this recipe, but black beans will also do!
Whether you’re a fan of meatless Mondays or just searching for another healthy salad recipe, this quinoa and bean salad will enthuse you with its bright colors and rich taste!
At the same time, being vegan and gluten free, makes it ideal for a lot of people who stay away from animal products or gluten.
Beans and quinoa contain high amounts of protein and complex carbohydrates, helping us saturate our hunger and offering long lasting energy to get through the day;
As for the beans, you can absolutely customize this recipe to your taste. Most of the times I prefer to use a mix of white beans and red kidney beans, but one type of beans will also do. Black beans are also great and will contrast perfectly with the light quinoa color.
That’s why this Mediterranean quinoa salad is also perfect for lunch!
If you also take your lunch at work, you'll love these healthy Mediterranean salmon burgers with yogurt-dill sauce and this colorful green salad with chicken, spinach and fruits.
How to cook quinoa for salads.
Cooking quinoa is a simple process, and you can easily prepare 1 cup of quinoa with the following steps:
For 1 cup of quinoa you'll need 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 2 cups of water (or vegetable broth) and ½ teaspoon of salt.
Step 1 - Rinse the quinoa:
Place the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer or sieve and rinse it thoroughly under running water for a few minutes or until the water comes out completely clean. This procedure will remove any bitter-tasting saponins that coat the quinoa grains.
Step 2 - Sauté the quinoa (optional):
Drain the quinoa well and transfer it to a pot or saucepan. Pour over the olive oil and sauté for 2-3 minutes over high heat. This step is optional but it will make it more tasty.
Step 3 - Boil:
Add the water or vegetable broth and the salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, cover the pot with a lid and cook for 15 minutes.
Step 4 - Remove from heat and rest:
Remove the pot from the heat, but keep the lid on. Let it sit for an additional 5 minutes (this allows any remaining moisture to be absorbed and ensures fluffy quinoa).
After the 5 minutes, uncover the pot and gently fluff the quinoa with a fork to separate the grains and make it light and fluffy.
Is this salad healthy?
Among their multiple health benefits, beans can lower the cholesterol levels in our blood, help us lose weight and reduce the risk of heart disease.
It is packed with nutrients and it's among the least allergenic of all the grains, it is gluten free and contains all nine essential amino acids, meaning it is a complete-protein source.
That’s why it’s considered to be an excellent choice for vegans and people who try to get enough protein in their diet.
Corn, tomatoes and parsley add freshness, color and extra vitamins and nutrients, while the extra virgin olive oil and red bell pepper sauce adds zing, moisture and a bit of creaminess.
Quinoa has a soapy and bitter taste due to a natural substance which coats every seed, called saponin.
To eliminate this bitterness, put it in a fine sieve and rinse it very well under running water for 2-3 minutes.
To reduce any flatulence problems caused by the beans:
a. If you use canned beans rinse them very well
b. If you cook dry beans make sure to change their water a few times during soaking and boiling.
c. Also, try to combine the beans with acidic foods (lemon juice and vinegar are good options).
This vegetarian fake lasagna casserole is not a salad, but it’s full of vegetables and you can certainly take it to work!
If you liked this healthy recipe for Mediterranean quinoa salad with beans, please share it with your friends and leave us a star rating after trying it!
Healthy Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with Beans
For the quinoa
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups water (or vegetable broth)
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the salad
- 1 can white beans (rinsed and drained)
- 1 can red kidney beans or black beans (rinsed and drained)
- 1 cup sweet corn (frozen )
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes (sliced or cubed regular tomatoes)
- 1 cup fresh parsley (chopped )
For the dressing:
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (freshly squeezed. Start with one tablespoon, taste and add more in needed.)
- 1 red bell pepper (chopped)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground)
- ½ teaspoon dried garlic powder (or 1 garlic clove - for stronger flavor)
Prepare the quinoa:
- Rinse: Place the quinoa in a fine sieve and rinse well under cold water for 2-3 minutes or until the water comes out completely clean. Drain well.
- Sauté the quinoa (optional):Transfer the olive oil and the quinoa to a pot or saucepan and sauté, stirring often, over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes.
- Boil:Add the water (or vegetable broth) and the salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, cover the pot with a lid and cook for 14 minutes.After the 14 minutes, add the frozen sweet corn, stir, cover with the lid and cook for 1 minute more.
- Rest:Remove the pot from the heat, but keep the lid on. Let it sit for an additional 5 minutes so that the quinoa can absorb any remaining moisture.After the 5 minutes, gently fluff the quinoa with a fork to separate the grains and make it light and fluffy.
For the salad dressing
- Transfer the olive oil, the lemon juice, the bell pepper, the salt, the black pepper and the garlic to the bowl of your blender and blend until smooth. You may need to shake the blender a few times until the bell pepper blends well. If needed add a splash of water.Taste the dressing and add more salt or lemon juice in needed.
For the salad
- Transfer the quinoa and the corn, the beans, the tomatoes and the parsley to a large salad bowl and mix.Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Serve.
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