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Beans and Salads

July 9, 2012

It’s taken longer than I would like to admit, but I have finally found a solution to my canned bean problem. I wanted to switch from using canned beans because dried beans are cheaper, not commercially processed, much more likely to be locally sourced, and do not come in a pesky package that needs to be  recycled. The issue was I had become too accustomed to the convenience of canned beans, and I was never good at remembering to soak dried beans the day before cooking. Finally I realized that I could cook a massive amount of beans and then freeze them! I found this tutorial and made a mess of black beans, the beans used most often in my kitchen. I ended up soaking them over night so they cooked very quickly, and then I left them unsalted.  I also stored them in a variety of container sizes, so I can grab the appropriate amount for any recipe. Black beans are just the beginning though, and when I find time I’m going to start adding more varieties to my frozen pantry.

Also, I did really do this project on the 4th of July. Not because I’m entirely insane, but because I wanted to bring this quinoa salad to a barbecue! It’s easy, vegan, and perfect for hot days and crowds of people.

Quinoa Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Serves 4 as a side dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 cups black beans
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed under hot water (or fresh corn if it’s in season!)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped (about half a bunch)
  • 2 lemons, juiced (need 1/4 cup juice)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon of agave (or sugar, or honey)
  • salt & pepper
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Directions:

Cook quinoa according to package directions and set aside to cool. Mix the lemon juice, garlic, agave, salt and pepper into a small bowl and whisk in oil. Combine cooled quinoa with red onion, beans, corn, and cilantro. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and stir to combine. Serve cold or at room temperature.

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