Jul 21, 2011

Black Bean and Corn Quinoa Salad

Here’s another good recipe for all you Quinoa lovers out there. How can I be so sure about it? Because I’m a love of Quinoa myself and if you made this for me, I would sit down happily and chow down a big bowl of it. And I’d be happy because I got my protein fix for the day.

Before I go into the recipe, here’s a question for all of you. What is Quinoa known as in Hindi and Tamil?

I heard that it was Thenai in tamil. But, after an extensive Google and Wiki research, I tend to disagree with that.

Thenai is a very common grown grain in India and the English name for that is Foxtail Millet. This is also known as Kangani in Hindi. And one of the points that Wiki talks about is how this grain feeds a lot of poor people in the northern part of India. That can just validate that this is not Quinoa at all because I heard Quinoa costs about Rs 500-600 per kilo. So, now it brings me back to the question – what is Quinoa called locally in India. Looks like even the Agriculture department has not yet categorized it – here’s a glossary for the names of many grains, pulses etc straight from the agri folks! So, if you’ve cracked the case, do share the knowledge!

Meanwhile, check out the Wiki facts on both Quinoa and Foxtail Millet. They clearly belong to different families.

Call it what you want, but this wonderful grain with its nutritious properties makes for a great salad or meal. Here are a couple of my other favorite Quinoa recipes on the blog – Cold Quinoa Salad and Quinoa Stuffed Cabbage Rolls. Just adding al dente Quinoa to any salad makes it more appealing and healthy. But today we’re going to look at a toasted salad recipe where Quinoa is the king. And of course the king has him many flavorful sidekicks!

I cook Quinoa similar to rice in a rice cooker. If you are using raw Quinoa, make sure you wash it clean multiple times. Some store bought packaged Quinoa comes already cleaned but I still wash it a couple of times. Yes, I have trust issues. For 1 cup of Quinoa, add 2 cups of water or veggie broth and cook similar to white rice.

The next step will be to organize the sidekicks. So, here I start with lots of ginger (my favorite), a couple of green chillies, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, corn and black beans. Feel free to substitute your favorite veggies here. Avocados would go great and I know one person who as soon as she reads this will make it along with avocados! Nod your head when you read this, you know who you are.

Now you could just add all these ingredients raw, throw in the Quinoa, mix well and refrigerate for a cold salad. But I wanted it to be a slightly toasted and then chilled salad. Your Kitchen, your wish. Do it anyway your heart desires.

In a pan, add a tsp of oil. Throw in the ginger and green chillies first. Then add the onions and don’t let this over cook or brown. Just sauté for a min and immediately add the bell peppers and tomatoes.

Again, let all the ingredients cook for only a few seconds – they should still be crispy when you eat the salad but at the same time, you won’t have to breathe out the raw onion on your family or co workers!

Add in the corn and black beans in the end. Sprinkle some salt to taste and add about ¼ tsp of paprika or red chilli powder. Toss in the Quinoa and mix well. Switch off the stove immediately.

Finally add some fresh cut cilantro for a fresh flavor.

This is ready to serve as is. I was actually making this late at night to take to work for lunch the next day. So, I ate it cold the next day and absolutely loved it. The onions were still a little crisp and perfectly done. And I could bite into all the veggies and that crunch provided the needed texture rather than all it being a smushy upma consistency. Sometimes that would taste good too – but today I just loved it all crunchy.

So, what are you waiting for? Get your protein fix for the day – cook up some Quinoa and get started. Here’s to a healthy you and me!

Enjoy. Peace Out!


  1. looks fabulous! Lovely presentation :)

  2. Something I can eat on regular basis ~ lovely flavors in there :)
    US Masala

  3. ever since we had that quinoa something from whole foods, i've been craving some of this. have to find some in SG though.

  4. Sounds tempting and delicious.. Thanks for the recipe dear.. :)
    Indian Cuisine

  5. No Thinai does not look like the quinoa that you have here. And from what I have read, quinoa is more common in the South American continent, not grown widely in the Asian countries. So that still leaves the question unanswered.
    I would love to find them in India and even if it sells at that high cost will willingly carry it back here (thanks to the huge baggage allowance)for I have read much about the nutrition of this wonder grain.
    All side kicks added seem to be my faourites, so even if i did not find quinoa, i will try the salad with any other cereal grain!

  6. Just awesome and wonderful colour combo. Luv it

  7. Quinoa is varagu arisi in tamil. It is available in local shops here, but now expensive - due to its international fame ! I love chilled salads :)

  8. hey anu my (re ?)search for a post in my blog some time back also let to the same conclusions as yours; in fact the pearl millet ie bajra has even more resemblance to the quinoa, probably the only diff may be the colour; anyways the platter has all my love n attention 1

  9. I havent tasted quinoa but this looks very tempting, simple and flavourful

  10. Anu, is that canned black bean? Or did you soak it overnight? I am not a fan of the quinoa in my salad but I like the quinoa dosa :)

  11. Wow very healthy recipe...luks eye catching...

  12. I have some left over! making this next week!!!!

  13. Thanks All!

    @ Nags - I went there a few days ago and thought about you much!
    @ Lata - our baggage allowance to the US has reduced a lot - glad you still can carry lots - I would love to shop in India to fill up those bags!
    @ Mad Jammer - thanks! will look up on varagu arisi
    @Priya - yes, I can only come to the conclusion that Quinoa is one other member of the millet family - there seems to be so many varieties!
    @ Lavanya - yes, this is canned black beans - sorry forgot to mention. You can use the regular dried beans too - just soak them ahead and pre cook them before using.

  14. I am also absolutely in love with Quinoa and love it, though I haven't cooked much with it, I mean that frequently. Love this recipe of yours. With some spice powders, it can be a one pot meal instead of salad. I mean salad in this case is also one pot meal as it has all nutrients in one place :)

  15. Nags can find Quinoa in Marketplace (Paragon shopping mall) - that is where I bought it.

  16. looks very interesting and i haven't ta tasted quoina before.

  17. Quinow is known in india as BATHHUA.
    Mostly its leaves are used as food.

  18. Quinow is known as BATHHUA in india.
    its leaves are used mostly.


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