I love a good vegetable salad. They are super easy to whip up, are healthy and the varieties are endless. Salads are also a great way to bring every color of the rainbow to your plate. Raw vegetables have a cooling effect to the body, which is why we tend to crave them and other cooling foods such as smoothies during warmer spring and summer months. As a result, I load up on my raw veggie salads during these seasons and get my fill. In contrast, during the late fall and winter, when my body craves warming foods, I eat more soups, stews and cooked vegetables.
Spring and summer bring in a bounty of delicious, healthy, in-season produce. In the spring we have avocados, carrots, grapefruit, lemons, arugula, asparagus, beets, spring onions, lettuce, parsley, peas, spinach, radishes, and swiss chard. The summer months bring the berries, peaches, tomatoes, watermelon, apples, avocado, asparagus, basil, beets, broccoli, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, radishes, spinach, summer squash and zucchini. I don't know about you, but this list makes my mouth water. For a more extensive list of what produce is in season throughout the year, go here. Eating in-season means the produce is usually fresh, local and more nutritious. And typically less expensive too!
This salad is a not traditional lettuce-based salad, though it would probably be pretty yummy added on top of spinach, lettuce or kale, if that’s what you’re in the mood for. It is simple, delicious, only takes about 15 minutes to prepare with only a little bit of chopping and minimal clean up involved. I am all about recipes that don’t take time and that you can make in large batches! This salad can be used as a dip with tortilla chips and as a side at a picnic or social gathering.
The base is quinoa, an ancient grain that hails from Peru and Bolivia. As I recently mentioned in my Quinoa Breakfast Porridge recipe, quinoa is a complete protein. This means that it contains all 8 amino acids essential to our health that our bodies cannot produce. It is gluten free and has the highest nutrient profile of all whole grains. Quinoa only takes about 20-25 minutes to cook and all you need to do is follow the instructions provided on the package.
The recipe below makes approximately 5 servings and is vegetarian and vegan.
Quinoa and Black Bean Salad
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 15 oz. can black beans
1 cup frozen corn, thawed (run under warm water in a strainer to thaw)
1 small red onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped (red, orange or yellow)
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste
1/2 avocado (to add on top when serving)
Add quinoa, black beans, corn, onion, bell pepper and cilantro to a bowl. Mix together well. Add lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper, mixing again to coat contents thoroughly. Place in fridge for 30 minutes prior to serving. When serving, slice avocado and place on top.
~Peace, love and healthy food~