Black Bean, Corn and Quinoa Salad
By Mary Curry
Welcome to Interactive Friday where you help me figure out the best version of a recipe!
Last week when Missy posted her fabulous Green Goddess dressing, I mentioned a salad that I’ve enjoyed at a local café - Black bean, corn and quinoa salad with avocado dressing and tortilla strips. Missy asked me to post about it so that gave me a chance to go back and order it again.
I got it as take-out so I could take notes as I ate, but I need some help in perfecting the recipe.
Some of it is easy –
Quinoa – check
black beans – check
corn – cooked it in the microwave with husks still on the way Missy taught us here - http://yankeebellecafe.blogspot.com/2012/06/favorite-friday-corn-on-cob.html - then cut it off the cob and chilled it.
In my opinion the corn was the best part!
greens – check
red onion thinly sliced – would have been a check except the one I bought had some weird black moldy looking stuff in it when I cut it open. Tasted NASTY so I skipped that part. That made me sad because the slices of red onion gave a nice zing to the café salad.
tomatoes – check. I used little red grape tomatoes
avocado slices for the salad – check
toasted tortilla strips – for these, I decided to make my own. Well, not really. I bought corn tortillas. My daughter chopped them into thin strips and then we toasted them in the oven. (Note: for this part, it’s better to toast longer on a low temperature. I did it on a higher temp and they got mostly chewy. I lowered it so they could just sort of dry out.)
Onwards to the salad –
That first part is all pretty basic. Just cook the quinoa and chill, prepare the beans however you like (I always cook them. Makes them easier to digest if you know what I mean.) and then chill.
Wash the greens.
When everything is chilled you’re ready for the dressing. This is where my copycatting fell apart. What I made tasted good, but it wasn’t exactly right.
I took another avocado and juice from a lime and blended with some cilantro. Because I can’t get Virginia’s smelly feet comment out of my head, I went light on the cilantro.
Okay – so juice from a whole lime was waaaaay too much. I’d say start with a tsp. of lime juice and add in to taste.
Except that you probably don’t want to do this dressing at all.
One of the things that complicated me figuring out the dressing is that it tastes different every time I go there. One time it was really creamy. Another time more liquidy. Hmmmm.
So I blended the avocado, too much lime juice (you should have seen the way my daughter’s face puckered!), cilantro and a dash of powdered garlic. Honestly, once I added the garlic, it wasn’t too bad. I like lime juice anyway. I blended and blended (actually switched to the mini food processor because the blender wasn’t working) until I had something that kind of resembled guacamole. I mixed that in with the cold quinoa and then arranged the whole thing on the bed of greens, added the beans, corn, tomatoes, (no onion), avocado, and topped with the toasted tortilla strips.
Isn’t that pretty?
It actually tasted really good too. There was just one problem (other than the lime juice and missing onion.) There really wasn’t any dressing on the lettuce.
At that point, I had the brainstorm I should have had back at the beginning. I Googled black bean corn avocado salad quinoa.
What do you know? LOTS of results. And they have dressing recipes. *sigh*
So here’s where you come in.
Take a look at some of these recipes, if you will, and tell me which you think sound best.
Or maybe you have an alternative suggestion.
Trader Joe’s has a recipe - http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/TRADER-JOE-S-BLACK-BEAN-ROASTED-CORN-AND-AVOCADO-SALAD-ON-A-BED-OF-QUINOA-50093720
Mercury News - http://www.mercurynews.com/recipes/ci_18300471
Matt’s Mix (This sounds good, but you have to buy something from him.) http://mattsmix.com/recipes/black-bean-roasted-corn-avocado-salad-with-red-quinoa/
From the Dallas News website (uses red quinoa) http://www.dallasnews.com/incoming/20111018-black-bean-corn-avocado-salad-over-red-quinoa-with-cilantro-dressing.ece
I’m kind of leaning toward this one - http://www.eating-for-england.com/quinoa-salad-beans-avocado/ because I like the sense of a citrusy (lemon and lime) liquidy dressing and I think cumin might give it the bite it was missing. I might blend some avocado into it though.
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