Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Black Bean and Corn Quinoa Salad with Avocado Dressing

Anyone know where I can buy an ark?

I'm starting to feel like Noah because it has been raining and raining and raining for weeks.

We did have one day of sun that seemed so special I had to snap a photo.

But mostly it's skies like this that are the break from torrential rains.

Do you find yourself getting blue when the skies are gray? I've found that so many days of bleak weather really take a toll on me. I crave some sunshine!

Or some bright flowers.

So, I decided that I needed something sunny, and then Jan's Monday post inspired me, so I'm sharing one of my favorite posts (because I have cooked nothing new recently!).

Black Bean and Corn Quinoa Salad with Avocado Dressing

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.

Apparently I never took a photo, but it's pretty and 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?

And finally, just like Noah, we got a rainbow!

It didn't photograph all that well, but it sure was a welcome sight!


  1. I love stormy skies but when they come day after day after day they stop being majestic and turn into plain old dreary. we've had an exceptionally rainy spring too. Horrible flooding -- worse than two years ago. So many communities hit hard. my daughter's apartment (basement) was just half a block away from being evacuated. So much destruction. A lot of folks had just finished renovations after the last flood and they got hit a second time in an area that doesn't see major flooding like least we didn't use to. Love the Mexican vibe you guys having going here at the cafe. Inspiring me to spice up a meal or two to match the warmer weather.

    1. I'm so sorry for all the destruction, Kav. I did think about that as I was typing. I shouldn't be complaining given how much destruction other parts of the country are experiencing. But you're right. The endless dreary days get to you. The sun came out today though.

  2. Oh, I love the components of this salad, Mary Cate. I do love quinoa, I just don't fix it very often, though I'm not sure why.
    And I love the idea of black beans and corn with it.

    Believe it or not, I long for gray, rainy days. Though it doesn't have to be raining. I just like those gray skies. I think I heard the weatherman say that we only saw the sun three days in February. That was a cool, drizzly month, but I loved it. Then again, I also know that summer will bring blazing heat and scorching sun, so that might play into my mindset. I see gray a reprieve from the heat. Yeah, I know, I'm weird. ;)

    1. I do like rainy days, Mindy. But there have just been endless weeks of them and it really begins to affect people's moods.

  3. I love the rainbow!!!! Today was a zero % chance of rain. It has rained three times already. Fields are flooded.... and the rain keeps coming.

    It's too early to get glum about it, but farmers are staring up, up, up... because you can't get near the fields and it's 5/15.

    We'll see how that goes.

    This sounds marvelous, Cate. I don't have quinoa here. It's so healthy.... it scares me. I should buy some.

    And cous cous. Whatever they are.


    Did Mindy just talk about FEBRUARY being cool and drizzly? How very British, darling! :)


    1. Couscous is really just tiny pasta, so give it a try.

      I'm not actually a huge fan of quinoa, but I have found a hot quinoa cereal that I really like.

  4. Mary Cate, I'm so sorry it's been raining so much!! I, too, get blue when that happens. We had such a wet winter and early spring. It nearly drove me crazy. But late spring has been glorious!