Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Reshare: Black Bean and Corn Quinoa Salad with Avocado Dressing

With any luck, this week marks the end of the worst of my school year. Fun stuff ahead and only a couple more days of state testing.

But that means, until I get through this week, not much cooking is happening. My daughter took me out for barb-e-que for Mother's Day and I had leftovers. My husband ordered takeout (well, he had me order it actually) for dinner, so I had meatball parm leftovers for days.

Hear that cafe folk? I had lots of meat this week. I should be running marathons.

Not.  The school day takes enough energy.

I went looking for a post to share and found this one that I posted almost exactly a year ago and that was copied from a guest blog that was also from May.

I guess it's a theme, so here we go again.

What to cook?

What to eat??

What to post about???

It's that time of year (here at least) when we're in between seasons - too early for summery stuff, too tired of all the wintery stuff.

Just blah.

Apparently this is an annual affliction for me.

I was looking through the old food blog I used to do at Healthy Writer and found this from May 13, 2013.

Blizzards in April, snow storms in May.
We have a freeze warning tonight!
All of which is just an excuse for why it’s taking me so long to get into my spring/summer healthy mentality.
The allure of soups has worn thin as winter dragged on
and on
and on.
Roasted vegetables, so delicious back in November, are getting boring.
Still, it’s hard to drum up enthusiasm for those summer salads when you’re still wrapped in sweaters and winter coats!

Sound familiar?

I know some of you in other parts of the country are well into the warm weather, and we've had a few days, but they don't seem to hang around.

So I settled on this summery dish to pick up my spirits. I may have actually posted an in-progress rendition of it a few years back, but it seems just what I need right now.

A health food restaurant in my neighborhood sells an amazing Black Bean and Corn Quinoa Salad with Avocado Dressing that my daughter and I love. I wanted to try to duplicate it at home. Most of the duplication was easy; only the dressing gave me fits.

So here’s the easy part:
Quinoa – Do you cook with quinoa? It’s easy to make, so healthy, and has a nice nutty bite.
Black beans – I used Goya canned beans.
Corn –Have you ever tried cooking corn on the cob in the microwave with husks still on?  Missy Tippens taught me about that right here at Yankee Belle Cafe. For this recipe I nuked it, then cut it off the cob and chilled it.
In my opinion the corn was the best part!
Greens – I used a package of mesclun greens because they’re my favorite salad greens. I love the variety.
Red onion thinly sliced – This gives the salad a nice zing.
Tomatoes – I used little red grape tomatoes.
Avocado slices for the salad – yum
Toasted tortilla strips – for these, I decided to make my own. Sort of. 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 because it seems to make them easier to digest) 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. I wasn’t totally thrilled with that version so I did some after the fact googling and found this recipe from  Trader Joe’s. I think it would have been better so I may try it tonight.
So mix the dressing in with the cold quinoa and arrange on the bed of greens, add the beans, corn, tomatoes, onion, avocado, and top with the toasted tortilla strips.

Isn’t that pretty?
Delicious too! Which is why I’ve been craving it.
Do you ever try to duplicate meals you’ve had in restaurants? How does it work for you?

*Sad note since I originally wrote this - the health department closed that restaurant!!!!

An even better reason to make it at home.

Apparently I took no pictures.  Sorry.

I'll do better next week.


  1. Sounds yummy to me! I guess the avocado serves as the fat in the dressing. :)

    Hope the rest of the year goes well!

    1. It really mashes in well and makes a creamy dressing, Missy.

      Thanks for the wishes. I'll take them and lots of prayers please!

  2. Yay! The end of the school year is in sight!

    And this salad sounds fabulous. I'll need to put a couple items on my grocery list, but this will make a great lunch next week!

    1. This restaurant had so many wonderful, healthy dishes, Jan. My daughter often says how she wishes it was still open - minus the health violations, of course.

  3. The health department closed the restaurant????? Oy! Yes, better to make it at home. LOL

    End of the year at school is crazy, isn't it? We have provincial testing for grades three and six in May and those were tense times. Everything in the school breathes a sign of relief when that's over. But June is crazy too -- trying to keep the kids in school mode instead of vacay mode and all the special programs and trips and for me in the library June was the worst because everyone finally returns stuff they've hoarded all year. LOL Ah, yes, those were the days. :-)

    1. Temps in the high 80s and 90s all of a sudden aren't helping!

      We went from needing heat at the beginning of the week, to 90.

  4. I made this avocado dressing and it's delicious! Thank you so much for sharing it!