Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Recipe: Quinoa, Black Bean & Summer Squash Salad

It's that time of year again.  That special time when you come home after a long day at the office, arms full of parcels from running post-work errands, only to trip on something on your front doorstep.

It's Someone-Left-Zucchini-On-My-Doorstep season again.

Personally, I haven't tripped on any zucchini, pattypan and other summer squash just yet, but I have in the past and I know it's coming.  I don't mind, really - after all, who can say no to fresh summer produce right out of the garden?  And in a season when fruit seems to take center stage, it's nice to have a source for free veggies.

But until my friends & neighbors start leaving tasty obstacles on my doorstep, I make do with all the beautiful squash being sold at ye olde farmer's market.  With prices like $1/lb for mix-n-match squash (and peaches, and apricots, and...), how can one go wrong?

I scored a nice bunch of these beauties over the weekend with no particular recipe in mind.  I like to let my produce inspire me rather than the other way 'round, especially in the summertime when the markets are resplendent with fresh, vibrant, just-picked fruits & vegetables.  I chose the smallest ones so they'd be nice & tender (and, let's face it, cute), making it easy to use them either cooked or raw - a huge plus during the summer when there are days too hot for cooking, or even grilling.

Because of the warmer weather, my stove & I have been seeing a lot less of each other.  The long dates we used to have on a nightly basis are now happening just a couple times a week, when I cook up big batches of beans or grains to use in salads & other dishes.  And as we enter Scary Week, making a big batch of quinoa to stretch out into different meals is the way to go.  It's beyond nutritious, filling without being overwhelming, and because of its versatility & high yield, very cost-effective

With all that fabulous squash I'd picked up, I was tempted to make my Summer Veggies & Quinoa with Cilantro-Pistachio Pesto.  But since I had no nuts in the house whatsoever, I scrapped that pesto-making plan pretty quickly.  Instead, I made use of what I had available to me and made a quick, simple salad that required zero cooking now that my quinoa was made.  With smoky black beans and crunchy, fresh summer veggies all tossed together in a simple citrus dressing, voila!  Dinner - and lunch for the next two days - was served.

All that for less than a buck fi'ty per serving.  Gotta love that!  :)

Quinoa, Black Bean & Summer Squash Salad (makes 3-4 servings; total cost per serving: $1.25)

1 c cooked quinoa
3/4 c cooked black beans
1 c chopped assorted summer squash (zucchini, pattypan, etc.)
1/2 c diced red onion
1 large tomato, diced
1/8 c olive oil
1/8 c fresh lemon juice
1/8 c fresh key lime juice
1 T honey
Salt & pepper to taste

1.  Prepare the dressing by vigorously whisking together the last five ingredients in a small bowl until completely combined.  Set aside.

2.  In a large bowl, add the quinoa, beans, squash, tomato & onion, and toss together.  Pour the dressing into the salad and mix well.  Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to let the flavors incorporate.

3.  Serve alone, atop a bed of greens, or as a nice side to grilled meats or fish.  Enjoy!


  1. Yummy :) I love dishes like this. Everything you need in one bowl. I also love the use of summer squash, which I'm going to have a lot of in my garden very soon. I always need to new ways to use it up so thank you :D

  2. Did you use canned beans, or did you cook them before?

  3. This salad is very nice for this hot weather and so easy to make, thank you. For the question that was asked by ( Charming Nest )about the beans if you look at the ingredients one more time you will see that it says 3/4 C- COOKED Black Beans,but a little bit of thinking can come in handy, you can use CAN BEANS since they they ARE already COOKED.

  4. I'm totally going to pass this recipe on to my fiance. She LOVES both quinoa and zucchini--this is, like, the perfect dish for her.

    I, on the other hand, am totally afraid of both.

    That said, even though I'm totally too big a wimp to try most of your recipes, I really like the blog and what you've got going here. It's always fun to read about other people who're making good food work for them (especially when they're on a budget similar to mine! :) )

  5. What a great summer salad recipe. Quinoa and black beans are so nutritious too!

  6. Wow, this looks delicious! Can't wait to try making it.


    Domestic Divas

  7. I love when dishes are colorful like this. Makes me feel like there's lots of nutrients!



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