A healthy and filling meal you can take to work!
Whether you’re a fan of meatless Mondays or just searching for another healthy and satisfying 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; that’s why this salad is perfect as a hearty lunch!
Up until a few weeks ago I had the luxury to eat lunch at home. You see, since the place where I worked was a 3-minute walk from my apartment, I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to eat my lunch in the coziness of my kitchen. But things change my friends, and the time came when I had to switch working environments. My new work is about half an hour drive from my apartment – on a light traffic kind of day – so you understand I no longer have the opportunity to eat lunch at home. I have to admit I didn’t like it at first, but ultimately I saw it as a chance to explore the world of work lunches. One time I took with me one of these healthy salmon burgers and another time this tangerine spinach and chicken green salad, but with the dressing inside a separate tiny little jar. For meatless meals, this salad is on the top of the list because it is very healthy and filling, easy to transfer and can be eaten warm or cold – I prefer it cold from the fridge!
Among their multiple health benefits, legumes can lower the cholesterol levels in our blood, help us lose weight and reduce the risk of heart disease. Quinoa is among the least allergenic of all the grains, 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 olive oil and red bell pepper sauce adds zing, moisture and a bit of creaminess.
Quinoa can have a certain 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 for 2-3 minutes. Let it drain for 5 minutes before using it in your recipes.
To reduce any flatulence problems caused by the beans: if you use canned beans rinse them very well and if you cook dry beans make sure to change their water a lot of times during soaking and cooking. Also, try to combine them 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!
Update, May 10, 2017: Today I had the pleasant surprise to have this post featured as one of thefeedfeed.com‘s favorite legume recipes! Click on the link to see the rest of the amazing recipes!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3/4 cup quinoa
- 1 can rinsed white beans, or 1 cup cooked dry beans (see notes below)
- 1 can rinsed red beans, or 1 cup cooked red beans (see notes below)
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels
- 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes or cubed regular tomatoes
- 1 cup chopped parsley
- For the dressing:
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice (begin with one, taste and decide if you like more)
- One red bell pepper, in pieces
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place quinoa in a fine sieve and rinse well under cold water for 2-3 minutes. Let it drain for 5 minutes.
In a pot, cook quinoa and olive oil under medium/high heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add one and a half cups of water and half a teaspoon salt, reduce heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes. Add the corn at the final 5 minutes.
Turn off the heat and leave it covered to rest for another 5-10 minutes.
- To make the dressing, put everything in a blender and blend until smooth. You may need to shake the blender a bit until the pepper blends well.
- Combine everything into a bowl and drizzle with the dressing.
If you use dry beans you will need approximately half cup white and half cup red dry beans. Soak them for one or even two days in one liter water with one tablespoon salt. Rinse well and cook them in plain water (without salt) until tender, about one hour or more, depending on the hardness of your water and the type of the beans.
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